Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 1, 2007

Dam repair schedule could be shortened

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has good news for the “Ohio Navy” and business people in the Lake Cumberland area who serve the tourist industry. Corps officials say they are trying to shorten by two years the time it takes to rehabilitate Wolf Creek Dam.

Mike Zoccola, chief of the Civil Design Branch for the Corps, pointed out that the “ ... official or published schedule” has been seven years -- two years for grouting and five years to insert a diaphragm into the earthen part of the structure. This announced timetable projects the completion in 2014.

However, Zoccola told the Commonwealth Journal Wednesday that if funded at proper levels the repair project could be completed more quickly.

Some $51 million to rehabilitate Wolf Creek Dam are in the current federal budget. Reportedly President Bush’s proposed budget for the 2007-2008 fiscal year includes another $54 million for the dam. Zoccola did not say how much more money will be needed to compress the repair timetable.

Zoccola said the original plan for rehabilitating Wolf Creek Dam called for a five-year repair program. He said if the project is funded at sufficient levels the Corps could revert to the original five-year schedule.

The engineer said separating the grouting from the diaphragm already has put the project a year ahead. Normally, the diaphragm and grouting are in the same contract, he remarked.

Advanced Construction Techniques Ltd., Ontario, Canada, began an accelerated grouting program in December. A contract to insert a four-foot-thick concrete diaphragm through the earthen section of the dam to 100 feet into the bedrock is currently scheduled for awarding this coming December.

The diaphragm called for in the current project will be upstream from a similar concrete wall put in the dam during the 1970s. The first diaphragm was about three feet thick and extended only about 25 feet into the bedrock. It did not go the entire length of the earthen section.

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