The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By A.J. Etherington
The Courier 

Half a Decade Later, Spillway Repairs Finishing Up


Sean R. Heavey/For the Courier

Construction at the spillway is halted until the springtime. Good thing, as the ice looked pretty thick on Dec. 30.

Following the flood waters of 2011, the Fort Peck Dam Spillway was in need of massive repairs resulting from erosion at the base of the spillway. According to Darin McMurry the Operations Project Manager for the Fort Peck Project, the cause of the damages were due to the "record flows" of 52,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water during the prolonged and unprecedented flood. The spillway, however, was not designed with a stilling basin at its base to prevent water from eroding back under the concrete structure in a continuos flow. This meant that when the dam was releasing 52,000 cfs for four months during high waters in 2011, the base of the spillway was slowly eroding out from under itself.

As a result, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a contract dubbed the "plunge pool rehabilitation" to ASI Construction of Pueblo, Colo. in Sept. of 2012, according to McMurry. The end result of the contract was the addition of 350 feet of concrete and walls to the end of the spillway to prevent or minimize future erosion risks amongst other work and rehabilitation to the dam project. "The additional 350 feet of concrete with training walls, which was completed in the fall of 2016, will push the energy resulting from high water releases... downstream and away from the original spillway structure; therefore, adding additional safety in the event of high flows," McMurry told the Courier in a statement.

McMurry added that presently ASI has some remaining work items to complete the contract, and that they will return in spring 2017 to finish the remaining obligations. Estimates in 2014 placed the total cost of repairs at $45 million.


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