In Oct. 29 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
US Army Corps of Engineers' Information Officer Allison Jarrett said there have been some difficulties on the Wolf Creek Dam Rehabilitation Project and the contractor is about 2 months behind.
"Those issues have been resolved and we're back on track," Jarrett said.
Dennis Woodrum, the acting residential engineer for the Corps on this project explained that the contractor, Treviicos Soletanche JV, was having problems with the pilot holes for the permanent barrier wall.
"It's a verticality problem," Woodrum said. "These pilot holes guide the 50-inch bores for the barrier wall down through the protective wall to the rock below."
He explained that if the pilot holes aren't vertical then the barrier wall won't be and that would weaken its effectiveness.
"They are still committed to the October 2012 deadline though," Woodrum added.
Some reports have the project running over to December of that year, but Woodrum said the contractor would run up against some severe penalties if the work took longer than the contract allowed.
He explained that the contractor would likely just bring on more shifts, more workers, to bring the project back on track, time-wise.
The problems were showing up in Technique Area One, where the contractor has to prove to the Corps that they can do the job to the Corps' standard before they take on the more volatile critical areas one and two in the dam, Woodrum said.
He added that it was likely they would not be finished in the technique areas before next spring.
As to what any of this would do to projections of evaluating lake levels by next fall the engineer refused to make any commitments.
He said they could allow the lake level to come up, but it would all depend on the progress of the work and its effect on the water penetrating through and under the dam.
He did suggest that a 10-foot level could be more likely than a 20-foot increase.
At this point less than half of the over 400 protective wall panels are in place and none of the barrier wall has been completed.
The protective wall functions as a softer concrete form for the hard concrete barrier wall that will go down through it, inside the earthen portion of the dam, down to the first layer of rock. From there the barrier wall penetrates deeply into the bedrock, according to the plan.
The plan came into being after engineers noted increases in the amount of water penetrating the dam. This is not the first time Wolf Creek Dam has had problems.
Completed in 1950 the dam was showing leaks in the late 60s so a major project in the early 70s installed barrier walls in the dam. Those walls did not go as deep nor are they as long as the present walls being constructed.
As during the previous repairs water levels on Lake Cumberland have been lowered far below normal pool levels to insure the safety of the dam and to make repairs easier.
Complaints of the economic impacts of a lower Lake Cumberland have been numerous and the Corps is under pressure to raise water levels as much as they can as quickly as they can.