Commonwealth Journal

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February 7, 2013

Dam’s barrier wall nearly complete

Somerset —  

Completion of the permanent barrier wall in Wolf Creek Dam’s most critical section lacks just 14 more piles, according to Don Getty, manager of the $594 million rehabilitation of the mile-long structure that impounds Lake Cumberland.
  A pile is a 50-inch hole, 275 feet deep, filled with concrete. Some 1,432 piles create a concrete wall through the earthen section of the dam. The wall is being inserted to stop uncontrolled seepage that has plagued the structure during most its 62-year history. The barrier wall is done except for the aforementioned 14 piles.
  When the wall is complete; when the last pile is in place about the middle of March; when Brigadier General Margaret W. Burcham, commander of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, gives the “green light” about a month after the last pile is in place, Lake Cumberland will begin to rise. The Corps said the water level will be allowed to rise 20 feet to between 700 and 705 feet above sea level for this summer’s vacation season.
  Tom Hale, operations manager for the lake, said the 20-foot rise will allow water to surround both Pulaski County Park near Nancy and “ ... to the best of my knowledge” will bring the water to the causeway at General Burnside Island State Park. 
  The extended boat-launching ramp at the state park has been and is in use, but Hale said the additional 20 feet of water will make launching much easier. Pulaski County Park has been “dry-docked” since the lake was lowered 40 feet in January 2007. The water this summer should be high enough around the county park to launch boats.
  Because of heavy rains in the Cumberland River Basin, the lake as of noon Thursday was at 692.77 feet above sea level, almost 13 feet higher than the Corps’ mandate of between 680 and 685 while dam repairs continue.

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