Barrier Wall Construction at Wolf Creek Dam
January 29, 2010Authors: Ricardo Petrocelli, President TREVIICOS South Inc., Jean-Philippe Renard, President Soletanche Construction Inc.
The new concrete cutoff wall at the Wolf Creek Dam is a milestone in barrier wall construction. The dam, on the Cumberland River in Kentucky, is operated and maintained by the Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), to provide area flood control, hydropower, recreation and water supply. Lake Cumberland is the Corps’ largest reservoir east of the Mississippi River.
With a total surface approaching 1,000,000 sq ft, the Wolf Creek barrier wall is unlike any other project in the world. The 5,735-ft-long dam combines earthfill and concrete gravity sections. Construction began in 1941 and was completed in 1950.
The solution channel intercepted during construction under the upstream face of the embankment and parallel to the dam axis, was used as a cutoff trench, and improved with a single line grout curtain. The sidewalls of the trench are irregularly shaped, with overhangs. The Catheys Formation and overlying Leipers Formation beneath the dam are both hard, thin to massive layered, argillaceous limestone interbedded with thin, well cemented, calcareous shale with large Karstic solution features...