In July 26 issue, Russell County News By Greg Wells Managing Editor
It was announced Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers had awarded a $341.4 million contract to Treviicos Soletanche JV for the construction of a barrier wall at Wolf Creek Dam.
The planned 4,200-foot-long, 275-foot-deep concrete wall is the primary element of a project to fix leaks at the dam.
The contract was awarded to a consortium of companies. Trivi Icos, a Boston company founded by leaders from the Milan Italy Company Icos, which was a contractor for the previous repair on Wolf Creek Dam. The French company Soletanche Bachy is also part of the project.
According to information from Trivi Icos they constructed the cutoff wall in the McAlpine Dam in downtown Louisville in 1995.
Soletanche Bachy and their North American subsidiary Nicholson has several offices in the US including one in Mascot Tn., and is headquartered in Pennsylvania. They are credited in releases with extensive knowledge and experience with this type of dam repair all around the world.
According to the Corps, both companies have a long history with dam rehabilitation and construction efforts. Trivi Icos, has worked with the Corps on a several dam projects in the past, including the cutoff wall at McAlpine Lock and Dam in Louisville and a diaphragm wall at W.F. George Dam in Alabama.
The Corps reported that Soletanche Bachy specializes in all aspects of modern geotechnics and foundation engineering. In 1988, Soletanche was awarded a Corps’ contract to construct a diaphragm wall at Mud Mountain Dam on the White River in the State of Washington.
The Corps has alternately described the Wolf Creek Dam as one of the five dams that are most likely to fail or as not being in as bad shape as it was the last time work was required to steady the structure.
Trivi Icos, Soletanche JV is slated to begin construction this fall and the work could take up to four years to complete.
The first repair to Wolf Creek Dam was not as long or as deep as the present project's scope. These two rounds or repairs have been necessary because of a design and construction flaw in the original dam. It was built in the late '40s on top of limestone that was seriously compromised by numerous caves.
At the time of the dam's construction during the 1940s, those caves were simply packed with clay, and the dam was built over them. That was an accepted procedure at the time. It is water seepage through those caves that the Corps has blamed for past and present problems with the dam.
The Corps is spending about $400 million over seven years to repair leaks.
More than $98 million in federal funding has been dedicated to the project, including $57 million secured in the fiscal 2009 Corps budget, according to a release from U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers, R-5th District.
"Shoring up Wolf Creek Dam for boaters and fishermen, lake-dependent businesses, hydropower and water strapped communities is of utmost importance and I am pleased to see a decision on the wall contract," he said in the statement.
Tom Hale, the senior officer at the lake's resource management office in Somerset recently said there is no truth to recent rumors that the lake would soon be drawn down another 20-plus feet as a result of faulty measurement readings at the ailing dam.
Failure of levees in New Orleans during post-Katrina in 2005 put a lot of pressure on the Corps to address Wolf Creek Dam, he noted.
“We try our best to be fully honest (with the media). We have no secrets,” he said. Despite its current woes, Lake Cumberland generates $159 million to local economies it serves each year, Hale said.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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