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Temporary Wall Collapses at Oroville Dam Site

Thursday, August 30, 2018

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The California Department of Water Resources confirmed Monday (Aug. 27) that a 30-foot-wide section of temporary wall along the Oroville Dam’s upper chute collapsed last week, though it reporedly will not negatively impact project deadlines and there were no injuries.

According to DWR spokesperson Erin Mellon, the structure was roughly 26 feet high, 30 feet wide and 2 feet deep, and was composed of “a temporarily braced section of steel reinforcing.”

Oroville Construction

The Oroville spillway failed on Feb. 7, 2017, setting in motion a crisis when heavy rains forced the DWR to release water onto the never-used auxiliary spillway; the earthen auxiliary spillway eroded, threatening the stability of the concrete weir holding back the water of Lake Oroville.

The DWR set Nov. 1, 2017, as the initial deadline to get everything back in working order before the next rainy season; as a temporary measure, much of the spillway was filled last year with roller-compacted concrete. The deadline for the completion of the full reconstruction of the spillways is Nov. 1, 2018, when the last concrete slabs are to be put in place.

Both the DWR and Kiewit conducted an investigation into the recent collapse, and have increased the strength of the reinforcing system in response.

“This is the first time this has occurred on the construction site—this year or last year. To be clear, this was not a finished concrete wall,” Mellon said in an email to the Chico Enterprise-Record.

The steel reinforcing consisted of 1-inch-wide bars that ran both horizontally and vertically, braced horizontally “for plumb and line prior to placement of the wall forms, which are then filled with concrete,” Mellon said.

Earlier this month, the DWR met with its newly appointed Community Ad Hoc Group and Independent Review Board as part of a Comprehensive Needs Assessment aimed at ensuring the safety of its Oroville Dam amid criticism of the agency’s practices.


Tagged categories: Accidents; concrete; Infrastructure; Locks and dams; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management

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