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Fourth Phase of Work on WV Dam Complete

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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The fourth phase of work on a nearly 70-year-old dam near Hinton, West Virginia, is now complete, marking the installation of 278 high-strength steel anchors that serve to better tie the dam to stronger bedrock further down.

Aaron Smith, who is responsible for overseeing the dam’s safety assurance project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, noted that while the Bluestone Dam is structurally sound, the increasing strength of storms has called for work on the dam that has lasted for the past two decades.

 Bluestone Dam Work

Smith also noted that in its 70 years of operation, the dam had prevented $5 billion in flood damages, providing flood safety all the way to Point Pleasant. Smith added that the work had come with its own challenges, namely keeping the dam in operation while having little space to work with.

"This is a great accomplishment today," Smith said. "We are really excited to see that 500th anchor go in and know that the dam can now resist those extreme stormwaters."

Heeter Construction was awarded the fourth phase of work on the project. The contactors were also joined by members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Last week’s benchmark denoted 500 anchors being installed to date.  

Work on shoring up the dam is still ongoing. The next phase of construction, which will involve shoring up the dam’s stilling base, is expected to last well into the next decade, likely costing half a billion dollars. (A dam’s stilling base is where discharged water settles before it is released back into the open riverbed.)

Discharge water could do damage to portions of the stilling basins, which could damage the structure’s foundation. Contractors will spearhead building a cofferdam to draw water away from half of the stilling basin as a concrete pavement wall is installed to prevent erosion during bad storms.

The Bluestone Dam, a conventional concrete gravity dam measuring nearly a half-mile long and standing 165 feet tall, began operating in 1949, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Tagged categories: Infrastructure; Locks and dams; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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