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Oroville Dam Ready Ahead of Rainy Season

Monday, November 5, 2018

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California water officials recently reported that, nearly two years after the damage to the Oroville Dam, the $1.1 billion spillway is ready for the winter season. Crews have finished pouring concrete, and all that remains is letting the material dry for the next month.

In September, officials noted that the cost had ballooned to $1.1 billion. The California Department of Water Resources Is planning to request financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover 75 percent of the cost, once the work is finished.

Oroville Dam History

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 was slated for Nov. 1 of this year, when the last concrete slabs were to be put in place.

In August, the DWR noted that a 30-foot-wide section of temporary wall along the Oroville Dam’s upper chute had collapsed. It did not impact project deadlines.

Work Completed

The final erosion-resistant concrete slab was put in place on the main spillway on Oct. 11; crews placed 378 in 2018, amounting to 612 ERC slabs used total in the repair work. The last ERC wall was placed a week later. The main spillway is now reconstructed to its original design capacity of 270,000 cubic feet of water per second.

The emergency spillway saw the completion of the RCC splashpad on Oct. 26.; roughly 700,000 cubic yards of RCC were used. Crews also completed construction of the RCC buttress at the base of the emergency spillway and placed a structural concrete cap to connect the buttress to the spillway.

“More than 700 construction workers, many of them from Butte County and other parts of Northern California, literally worked day and night to make incredible progress during the 2018 construction season,” said Tony Meyers, DWR Project Manager for the Oroville Spillways Emergency Recovery Project. “Staff from nearly every corner of DWR worked on the project in some capacity over the past year and a half and their planning, execution and hard work contributed to meeting this November 1 milestone.”

DWR officials also noted that they will keep the water level low during the winter to avoid using the spillway so that work can continue on the emergency spillway and other projects, including site cleanup and road repair.

   

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

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