In Nov. 26 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
Army Corps of Engineers Project Director David Hendrix said this week that the contractor has taken steps to correct three of the nine walls that were installed improperly during the repair work on Wolf Creek Dam.
He explained that to make the repairs new walls were being poured at a right angle to those "protective walls" that did not go in true the first time.
Hendrix said that changes were made to the project's quality control programs to prevent future problems.
"We've got the directional drilling problems lined out," he added.
Hendrix said the contractor, Triviicos-Soletanche JV, has cut work hours and had to lay some staff off while they make the repairs to work they had already done because that work must be completed before they can move on to other repairs.
The estimate has been that the contractor could be two-months behind because of the problem
Hendrix said the work is under contract to be completed in October of 2012, and if they exceed the contract length the contractor could face $8,020 per day in penalties.
With repairs underway to the protective wall, Hendrix said that nine of the 50-inch diameter pilings through that wall and into the bedrock were in place in the technique area, as of last Tuesday.
He added that grouting near Halcomb's Landing is nearly completed and work has begun to raise the work platform in the wrap-around area in preparation for the repairs to critical area one.
As reported first in the Times Journal last November estimates are that over half the cost of repairs to Wolf Creek Dam will ultimately be born by electric company clients, local power customers.
"This has always been a Dam Safety Major Rehabilitation Project," Hendrix said.
Because of that 55 percent of the cost of the repairs to Wolf Creek Dam will be born by the power generation division.
Jay Sadler, project director in the hydro-power division of the Corps for this project said the best estimate at this point that $319 million will be the cost assessed to the power division.
Hendrix said last year that the Corps is locked into certain criteria for deciding which type of project it is and this one, "straddles the line," on which it is, the project manager said.
If the project had been designated a Dam Safety Assurance Project the power provider would pay 15 percent of the cost.
"That's a $250 million difference," Hendrix said last November.
Leon Jourolman, with the entity that sells the power generated by the dam, said they would likely pro-rate that cost over a 50-year period, but the actual calculations on what that could mean in the way of increased electric rates is impossible to say at this point.
The Southeastern Power Administration's Jourolman explained that this is a calculation they won't be able to set in stone for another four years when the final cost of the project is known and then it is anything but a simple computation.
"We have not run the studies that show what the effect would be to our customers," Jourolman said.
Herb Nadler, assistant director of the Southeastern Power Adminstration, when pressed for an answer said, "I wouldn't be comfortable giving you an answer on that."
There are those willing to estimate however.
"…The electric rates for everyone in that area will increase by 46 percent...," Congressman Ed Whitfield is reported to have testified to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Corps' response has reportedly been that if the repairs aren't passed on to electric consumers then taxpayers will pay the entire bill for the repairs.
Similar repairs underway at Center Hill Dam on the Cumberland River in Tennessee will be paid for by electric consumers and water customers since they also have a shared cost agreement with the Corps, like that of the electric power administration.
Politicians there have also been vociferous about the percent of repair costs born by local constituents.