$20 Million In Repairs To Gavins Point Dam
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
May 10, 2013 4:21 PM
Over the next two years $20 million will go into repairing Gavins Point Dam, a dam that cost $50 million to construct in the 1950s. The operational project manager of the dam says engineers have some concerns about the dam, but a number of projects are underway to get it back to pre-2011 flood status.
Gavin's Point Dam is under construction, the spillway and the dam itself.
“We haven't had this much construction probably since the construction of the dam in the ‘50s. So, this is really unique,” said David Becker.
“The downstream flow of the dam is where we have had 25 new relief wells installed. Those are vertical wells probably 80 feet long or so that capture water that seeps under the dam,” said Becker.
Workers are placing dozens of new man wholes down to the relief wells to stop the water from seeping out from under the dam. Some of them were damaged during the flooding due to the extra pressure on the dam.
“Water is always trying to seep under dams. And we need to capture that water that seeps under dams before it causes any problems or before it causes any erosion or anything like that,” said Becker.
Friday, the work on the Spillway isn't flood related. But, work that will start in August on the gates that hold back Lewis and Clark Lake will be.
“So, they're going to put new cables on those gates and new breaks on those gates. So, that’s a total rehab on those spillway gates,” said Becker.
But, what lies below the spillway is causing some problems.
“Engineers are somewhat concerned of pressure and temperature under that spillway,” said Becker.
This past winter engineers placed sensors underneath the spillway to better monitor changing conditions with different flows coming from the dam.
But, with the Missouri River only flowing at 80% of average, workers won't have any excess water to worry about.
“A little less water makes it a little easier to get the work done,” said Becker.
Two years after the 2011 flood, Gavins Point Dam is still feeling the effects.