Commonwealth Journal

News Live

February 26, 2013

Drilling operation at Wolf Creek Dam coming to a close soon


Somerset —

The dam in 2005 was classified in high risk of failure and a $594 rehabilitation was deemed necessary. The lake has been held about 40 feet below normal since January 2007 to ease pressure on the structure and facilitate the repair work.
Mike Zoccola, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Design Branch, said the formula to find the pressure at any depth is easy: “62.4 X depth.”
Before the lake was lowered in January 2007 to facilitate repairs to the dam, depth of the water at the dam was about 250 feet. At this depth, according to Zoccola’s formula, there were 15,600 pounds of pressure against every square foot of the dam at its bottom.
Bill DeBruyn, resident engineer at the dam, said the total project will require 290,000 cubic yards of concrete. According to our calculation, a cubic yard of fresh concrete weighs about 3,700 pounds, so a total of 1,073,000,000 (one billion, 73 million) pounds of concrete will have been inserted in the dam when the rehabilitation project is complete.   
That is enough concrete, according to an on-site engineer, to build a sidewalk 5 feet wide from Jamestown near the dam to Washington D.C.
 Pyle Concrete Company of Columbia built a plant on U.S. 127 across from Lake Cumberland State Park to supply concrete for the dam project.
You can see light at the end of the tunnel. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced January 25 that the lake will be allowed to rise 20 feet, to between 700 and 705 feet above sea level, by this summer’s vacation season. Brigadier General Margaret W. Burcham, commander of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, will give the green light for the lake to rise. 
Current projections are the level will begin to rise April 1, and depending on spring rainfall, the lake should rise 20 feet by June.

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