In April 9 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
The President of Triviicos-Soletanche's joint venture at Wolf Creek Dam said his company has assembled nearly all of the equipment to begin the work of installing a wall inside the dam.
Ricardo Petrocelli told the officials and reporters gathered in the cold morning snow flurries Tuesday that they had brought the very best in equipment and staff to the project.
"We are absolutely confident that we'll defiantly complete (repairs) on time," Petrocelli said.
Lt Col Bernard Lindstrom, commander of the Corps' district responsible for the dam said they had taken not the lowest, but the best bid for the work, to insure that the project would be completed to the best engineering standards.
He said the company hired was the best for the job and had the track record to prove it.
Lindstrom addressed the recent news regarding a possible off-shore boat race on the lake saying that his staff was still reviewing the plans, but indicated it was likely that the race would be taking place.
He said the nation is aware of the problems at Wolf Creek Dam and that, "now it is time to tell the world we're fixing it."
He explained that such a high profile event that promoted by the Offshore Super Series Powerboat Racing Association could show the world that Lake Cumberland, in his words, "still has water."
Ron Polli, president of the association announced this February that they were planning such an event for the weekend of May 15-17.
The colonel stopped short of saying that the event had final approval.
He stressed the Corps was dedicated to providing support for all of the lake's designed uses, as well as for recreational and tourism needs.
Those assembled were taken on a guided tour of the work platform built on the lake side of the dam.
Salvatore Baledir explained how the hydromill would be used to chew down through the dam to excavate the space for sections of the wall.
He explained the timeline and plans for how holes would be bored, then filled with concrete and then the final wall would be drilled into the underlying rock.
At another stop Enora Primault and explained the data collected pizometers, instruments buried in the dam.
She explained that the instruments gave them an idea of the amount of water that was penetrating the dam at different locations throughout the dam.
Josh Tarter explained how the inclinometers and extensometers could tell engineers where and how much movement was occurring of material within the dam.
One of the audience, John Meincken the CFO at Jamestown Marina, asked if it was these instruments that caused all the concern last year.
Tarter explained that readings are compared to the original and subsequent readings from the same borehole.
He said the instruments have to be facing a specific direction when lowered into the casing they travel down into the dam.
If the instrument is put in the tube facing the wrong direction then the "normal" inclination in one direction becomes twice the inclination in the other direction.
"We get readings that don't make sense pretty often and we just go back out and take them again and they are corrected," Tarter said. "It would have been a lot better if they'd have come out and done that before things went further."
All grouting operations had been haulted last year when those "faulty" readings had been reported, and emergency services personnel in the region had been put on alert.
Flakes of show were tossed on a cold wind as the stakeholders were gathering to eat ham sandwiches in a tent beside the Wolf Creek Dam.
It was the Tuesday morning tour was competed, LtCol. Lindstrom was looking over the site and answered questions relating to a recent resolution that had passed among the fiscal courts in the lake region.
"I haven't seen it," Lindstrom said. "I'm not sure what they want. They haven't come to me with any requests."
The resolution was critical of the Corps' reaction to the problems at Wolf Creek Dam, and particularly to the Corps' reaction to the reduction in tourism.
The document, approved by the fiscal courts in Russell, Pulaski, Wayne and Clinton Counties to name a few, said "bureaucratic mismanagnent has and is enflicting significant damages to the economies of Lake Cumberland counties…"
Lindstrom's speech became quick and clipped as he listed off the ways in which the Corps has worked to ensure public access to the lake and the rent abatement given to marina owners the first year the dam level was lowered.
He pointed out that the Corps is responsible for other lakes in the Southwest, such as Lake Powel where levels have fallen sharply and tourism is off, but marina rents have not been reduced there.
He said the Corps would look at another rent abatement if necessary, but pointed out that there was a need for the Corps to be consistent in their management of lakes and that though the abatements helped marinas it had a strong negative impact on the budgets of the local counties, which receive a good portion of that rent.
"I understand and empathize totally," Lindstrom said of concerns about the tourism economy.
But, he stressed, the effort to ameliorate those impacts has been and should continue to be a team approach with his office.
After returning to the tent, and lunch, Lindstrom addressed the out of town media that had come for the afternoon tour.
He praised the work of Treviicos-Soletanche and introduced Secretary Marchetta Sparrow of the Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
She summed things up for the tourism department with, "As Lake Cumberland goes, so goes the Commonwealth."