News: Foundation remediation ‘SAME’ focus at Wolf Creek Dam
Story by Leon Roberts
JAMESTOWN, Ky. – The Society of American Military Engineers Nashville Post toured Wolf Creek Dam here Oct. 26 to see up close ongoing construction at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District’s $584 million foundation remediation project.
Before stepping foot on the dam at Lake Cumberland about 20 of the group's members in attendance received a briefing from Project Manager David Hendrix where he explained the history of seepage problems and reduction of lake level from 720 to 680 feet while the Corps works on the dam.
Hendrix explained how the Corps is installing a grout curtain and concrete diaphragm wall through the entire length of the earthen embankment and upstream of the right-most concrete monoliths to reduce current stresses on the dam.
He also stressed how the Corps has methodically moved forward safely with repairs to ensure public safety because there is no room for error given the volume of water in Lake Cumberland.
“This is the largest storage reservoir east of the Mississippi River. We’ve got 6.2 million acre-feet of storage in the lake,” Hendrix said. “That is the key why this is a high-risk project because if there is a failure, we have a huge volume of water and the consequences of that failure are significant.”
After a safety briefing, the group toured the work platform on Wolf Creek Dam where contractors are drilling to install the concrete diaphragm wall.
Jim Baber, director of marketing for T.E.M. Group Inc., in Louisville, Ky., is a SAME member and former Corps employee who once worked to install a a 2,600-foot long concrete diaphragm wall at the dam in the late 1970s. He said he is impressed by the tour and advancements of techniques being used by the Corps on this project.
“The biggest thing that I noticed was the way they monitor the verticality now when drilling,” Baber said. “That was a nightmare for us (back in the 1970s) from a quality assurance standpoint.”
Robb Unger, a professional engineer with Jacobs, added that he too is surprised by the intricacy of the drilling on the platform. “I had no idea the extent of this project and its development,” Unger said.
SAME is an organization that connects architects, engineers and builders in the public sector and private industry, uniting them to improve individual and collective capabilities for national security.
Kathy Ware, a professional engineer on the board of directors at the SAME Nashville Post, said going to Wolf Creek is an opportunity her group could not pass up because of the cutting edge work being done there to maintain the dam.
“I think it was very educational and enlightening… it gives you a great appreciation for what the Corps of Engineers has tried to do under tremendous, complex conditions,” Ware said about her experience on the dam. “It’s very impressive and there’s a lot of hard work going into it.”
At the completion of the tour, Lt. Col. Anthony P. Mitchell, Nashville District commander, told the group how much he appreciated them taking time to visit and learn about this important project, and encouraged them to tell others about their experience.
“I need you to share the news that Wolf Creek is doing fine,” Mitchell said. “And we have a plan in place and we’re going about it in a very meticulous and deliberate manner. Based on where we are in terms of our innovation and technology, we’re applying the best methods that we can to solve the problem we have at Wolf Creek.”