Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Folsom Dam Improvements

They are that, but even when they are completed they will do little to help Sacramento prevent the 500 year level of flooding expected to hit us at some point.

Sacramento remains one of the most threatened river cities in America, as we posted on previously.

An excerpt from the Sacramento Bee article.

“The Sacramento region's biggest flood control project enters an important phase this week as construction begins on giant gates that will allow Folsom Dam to handle bigger storms.

“The project is an enormous new spillway being built next to the existing dam. It will allow water to be released more quickly from Folsom Reservoir into the American River before the lake reaches its brim.

“Last week, Martin Brothers Construction of Sacramento completed a $63 million project to excavate the spillway channel in the hillside adjacent to Folsom Dam. As long as eight football fields, it took 18 months to complete.

“That project was overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns and operates the dam.

“Now the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers takes the lead on the project. It is charged with finishing the spillway and building flood-control gates that will release water into it.

“The Corps awarded a $126 million contract for that job to Granite Construction of Watsonville, which took over the site Thursday and is expected to start work this week.

"It's a great milestone, but it's no time to rest," said Mike Finnegan, Bureau of Reclamation area manager. "We've got to get it done."

“Both agencies view the modification of Folsom Dam as one of the nation's top flood-control priorities because of the potential risk to 1 million people downstream in the greater Sacramento area.

“The project addresses a major weakness in Folsom Dam's original design: The eight small outlet gates in the face of the dam can't empty the reservoir fast enough when a major storm strikes. The larger gates at the top of the dam can move a lot more water, but by then the reservoir is already dangerously full.”