Milestone reached with completion of protective concrete embankment wall at Wolf Creek Dam
June 22, 2012
JAMESTOWN, Ky. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District reached a major milestone here this week at the Wolf Creek Dam Foundation Remediation Project when work crews installed the 433rd and final panel in completing the protective concrete embankment wall. While this wall does not create a water barrier through the dam’s karst limestone foundation, it completes a major stage of construction that is critical to the final stage of construction – the main barrier wall, which is scheduled to be completed by December 2013.
The PCEW is a six-foot wide and up to 230 foot deep concrete wall through the dam’s clay embankment down to top of rock. It extends 3,800 feet along the length of the embankment. Its purpose is to protect the embankment while the main barrier wall is being constructed. The PCEW was one of several complicated components on the project and its safe completion without any major complications is a significant achievement.
Bill DeBruyn, resident engineer, said the entire Wolf Creek team has been working hard to reach this milestone. “They felt a tremendous and well-deserved sense of accomplishment when the last concrete was placed for the PCEW,” he said. “Our contractor continues to work two shifts a day, six days a week in an effort to complete the project as soon as possible.”
The contractor, Treviicos-Soletanche Joint Venture, continues to install the main barrier wall and has completed more than 70 percent of the concrete piles that create it. These piles extend up to 275 feet deep through the embankment and well into the limestone to block openings in the rock. The main barrier wall must be completed before Lake Cumberland can be raised back to its normal levels.
The contractor achieved another milestone this month when it reached 920,000 man-hours without an accident that would cause a worker to miss time on the job. Nashville District officials said a commitment to safety by Treviicos-Soletanche Joint Venture also contributed to timely completion of the PCEW.
The foundation remediation began in 2008 when the Corps took aggressive action to reduce the risk of failure and to effectively cut off seepage through the limestone caused by erosion of the dam’s foundation from water pressure in the reservoir.
The Corps made an emergency decision in 2007 to maintain the lake at elevation 680 feet. Despite lower lake levels that have been maintained during construction, Lake Cumberland is still the third largest lake in Kentucky, and recreation opportunities for fishing, camping, and water sports remain highly accessible.