The first bite of a $106 million drilling project to stabilize the earthen portion of the Center Hill Dam with a barrier wall was taken last month by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District and its contractor, Bauer Foundation Corp., as the auger of a giant drill rig turned up the first dirt to the cheers of spectators.
The milestone event was made possible by the hard work of many people
involved over the years in investigations, design and construction, according
to project manager Linda Adcock. "Building a barrier wall in the earthen
embankment is the main protective feature in the Center Hill Dam Seepage
Rehabilitation project," Adcock says. "Bauer will drill down 300 feet
from the top of the dam into 130 feet of rock, and construct concrete columns
to form this barrier over the next two years."
Quality control is paramount because the excavated columns must overlap to form
a continuous barrier, according to Lt. Col. James DeLapp, Nashville District
commander. "Bauer Foundation Corporation was selected for this contract
because of its experience, technical capabilities, quality control and environmental
measures," DeLapp says. "We are dedicated to a partnership with Bauer
to successfully complete this wall."
One lane of Highway 96 will be closed for the next two years, and an automated
traffic control system will safely manage vehicles across the dam. "The
equipment that the public will see on the dam is to support, guide and operate
the cutting tools working deep beneath the surface," says Bjoern Hoffman,
project manager for Bauer Foundation Corp.
Total cost of the project is estimated at $295 million, with about $140 million
spent to date on investigations, design and construction. The Corps manages
Center Hill Lake levels targeting a summer high of 630 feet above mean sea
level, and a winter pool of about 620 feet; however, day-to-day lake levels are
highly dependent on weather. These target elevations are 10 feet to 15 feet
lower than normal, and are part of risk management until repairs are complete