LANCASTER, Tenn. (May 18, 2015) – Officials celebrated the completion of a barrier wall in the main dam embankment of Center Hill Dam during a ceremony today at the work platform on top of the dam. The $115 million foundation barrier wall is a key component of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District’s Center Hill Dam Safety Remediation Project.
Tennessee Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver of District 40 sang the National Anthem and spoke about how amazing the lake is and how the local community below the dam is very interested in the status of the work to rehabilitate the dam.
“This lake here produces over $70 million a year to the local economy,” Weaver said. “This is a beautiful lake. We love this place and this is an important project here to get done… it (the lake) provides a lot of jobs, a lot of recreation, and it’s just plain gorgeous.”
The work to install the barrier wall began in 2012. Bauer Foundation Corporation construction crews worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week for much of the contract duration to complete this phase of the dam safety work.
“The barrier wall provides a permanent ‘barrier’ to potentially harmful seepage beneath the main dam earthen embankment,” said Linda Adcock, project manager. “Completion of this phase of the project significantly increases the safety of the dam.”
Adcock explained that the concrete barrier wall is approximately 2.5-feet thick constructed vertically along the embankment in overlapping rectangular columns as deep as 308 feet from the top of the dam and deep into the solid-rock foundation.
Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander, said that the completion of the Center Hill barrier wall is an important milestone in the rehabilitation of Center Hill Dam.
“Today is about recognizing the hard work of team members from the Corps and our prime contractor Bauer who have been able to accomplish some very complex and difficult technical work. The completed project has significantly increased the reliability of the dam and ensured its structural integrity for generations to come,” Hudson said.
The “first bite” of a giant auger drill rig turned up the first dirt of the project July 11, 2012. The last concrete pours for the barrier wall were completed in March 2015.
Alex Cartwright, project manager for Bauer, said that the company is very proud of its leading role in the restoration of Center Hill Dam and immensely grateful to the local businesses and people whose invaluable contribution helped make this project an outstanding technical success.
“It’s done. It’s all in there now,” Cartwright said about the installation of the concrete barrier wall. “Something like 80,000 cubic yards of concrete went into making this wall.”
Cartwright explained that not all of the concrete actually remained in the ground because roughly 10 percent of it got cut back out when forming the series of interlocking panels. He said the continuous wall runs deep into the foundation of the embankment terminating into the nearby hillside.
This is the second of three major contracts to remediate the Center Hill project. The third and final contract expected to be advertised later this year involves the installation of a concrete berm downstream of the auxiliary dam embankment. The auxiliary dam is a secondary earthen embankment that fills a low area in the landscape just east of the main dam.
The distinguished guests also participated in constructing a small-scale model of the barrier wall to culminate the ceremony. The five concrete panels in the model represented the importance of the lake to the community, the importance of the lake to the Cumberland River System, the expertise of Bauer, the positive impact of the Corps of Engineers construction management team, and how the elements of the team worked together to form the barrier wall.
The lake levels continue to be operated between elevation 630 feet above mean seal level in the summer and no lower than elevation 618 MSL during the late fall and early winter.
Center Hill Dam is rated in the Corps’ “Dam Safety Action Classification I,” which is the most urgent category for Dam Safety modification in the Corps. Even though the concrete barrier wall is complete, the classification of the dam cannot be changed until the third and final contract is completed, the remediation works are assessed and the project is reclassified. The final reviews are expected to be completed in 2018; the lake level is expected to be raised in time for the 2018 summer recreation season.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)