Heavy rainfall causes problems for contractors building Tired Creek dam
Approximately four and half inches of rain has fallen at the Tired Creek dam construction site since Sunday and the heavy rain has caused potentially significant damage to pipe in the lake’s principal spillway riser.
Dam designers Chuck Wilson and Bradley Boyer, of Schnabel Engineering, gave county commissioners an update Tuesday night.
“It appears there is some damage to the spillway pipe due to erosion,” Wilson said.
According to Wilson, each 20-foot section of the spillway pipe weighs between 45 and 46 tons. The rushing water appears to have rolled some sections of the heavy pipe, officials say.
“We have the pipe manufacturer coming out Thursday to evaluate the situation and make sure the joints don’t leak,” Wilson said.
Due to the extremely wet conditions construction has been halted, according to the county’s consultants.
However, Wilson reported Tuesday night the project remains slightly ahead of schedule. He said the foundation for the entire dam and the slurry wall have been completed and construction of the spillway riser should be completed in the next couple of weeks.
Wilson projects in approximately two weeks work will begin on the concrete labyrinth-crested weir spillway, which has an accordion like design that gives the 78-foot spillway the same capacity as a 300-foot spillway.
With 10 to 12 days of dry weather Wilson told commissioners they would see a “dramatic” increase in the height of the dam as crews from Brad Cole Construction build up the front portion of the dam and the front face takes shape.
Brad Cole bid $8,932,752.49 to construct the dam for the 960-acre Tired Creek Lake.
In related news at Tuesday’s county commission meeting, the board ratified its verbal approval to purchase a temporary boom at a cost of $13,000 which can be used to keep drainage pipes at the lake construction site free of debris and prevent damage to the dam by floating debris.
Commissioner Billy Poitevint took issue with County Administrator Carlos Tobar for not having brought the boom purchase before the board earlier.
“This was discussed at the February progress report meeting, but it never came before the board,” Poitevint said.
The District 2 commissioner also questioned the need to involve consultants in the matter when county officials had already been told the boom needed to be purchased. “Calling Laura Benz just adds to the cost,” he said.
Tobar acknowledged it was discussed last month, but that he had just been given a quote on a purchase price last week, which is when he called commissioners for their verbal approval to make the purchase.
Vice Chairman LaFaye Copeland questioned the description of the boom as being temporary. According to Commissioner Charles Norton, the boom can be moved later as the lake fills to provide protection for the dam from floating debris.
The board also heard public comment Tuesday night from two citizens regarding the lake.
John Gainous requested that the commissioners consider a 60-foot right-of-way if Cedar Springs Road is to be improved rather than an 80-foot right-of-way. “It will work just fine at 60-foot and it’s everybody’s interest including mine considering the loss of land for me and others,” he said.
Peter Wright, a vocal opponent of the lake and a plaintiff in lawsuits challenging the federal 404 permit for the lake’s construction, made another plea this week for the county to stop spending money on the lake. “It doesn’t have to look like Disney World with marinas and boat ramps all over it,” Wright said.
He warned that the lake could become the county’s “first gated municipality” and that talk of extending water and sewer service from Cairo could only mean residential development at the lake is being considered. “We don’t even know if the lake will fill up or not,” Wright said.
County Administrator Tobar briefed commissioners on the likely possibility he would be bringing forward a recommendation in the coming weeks to conduct a cultural resources study on the remaining county property at the lake site. He projected the cost could be as much as $80,000, but he said that sales tax proceeds could be used to pay for the study.
Commissioner Norton questioned the need to do the entire tract at one time stating he preferred to break it up into phases in order to save money.
County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley told the board the cost savings may not be as much as anticipated and that by going ahead with the study of all of the remaining property as one could benefit the county’s planning for lake amenities and access improvements.
“It would also allow us to identify any highly sensitive areas to preserve them or work around them,” Cauley said.
The board also discussed options for transporting debris from the lake site to the Brumbley Creek mitigation site.
The county is being requested to place the debris material to be used in streambank restoration in a more centralized location on the mitigation tract, but some county commissioners are holding firm that the county is only required to deliver the material to the mitigation site and the contractor would be responsible for moving it to where he needed it to go.
The consensus of the board was that it is too wet to begin transporting the debris to the mitigation site and too wet for the contractor to work on the steambank mitigation so action on the request was delayed.