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TODAY: Crews to begin draining Tempe Town Lake

Posted at 4:49 PM, Feb 09, 2016

After 18 months of preparation Tempe officials are ready to start the final phase of a massive project at Tempe Town Lake. 

City officials say that starting early Wednesday morning they will begin draining nearly a billion gallons of water from the lake.

The water is being cleared away to make way for a new dam on the west end of the lake. 

"It's gonna last us for many many many years," said Tempe mayor Mark Mitchell. 

"It's important because since the lake's inception we have had $1.4 billion worth of investment just around the lake. 

Mitchell says the project will replace the current dam's aging rubber bladder system with a new series of steel gates. 

The lake will be closed from February 10 until April 30.

Officials say the lake will take about 3 weeks to drain. 

Fish will be allowed to flow into ‎the canal as the lake drains. 

Tempe officials say an extensive mosquito and insect control program will be used to control bugs.

Businesses near the lake say they expect to see a slow down while construction is underway. 

However managers at Tempe Boat Rentals say they expect demand to increase once the project is finished.