Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hard Labor Creek Management Board Does Not Grant Extension For Dam Construction Despite Heavy Rains

Part Of Risk

The Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board this afternoon decided not to grant an extension in the time line for construction of the reservoir and dam despite an estimate that between 45 and 60 days had been lost due to heavy rains on Dec. 22.

The 3.4 inches of rainfall over a 19-hour period resulted in a breach of the coffer dam being used in construction of the actual dam, Project Manager Jimmy Parker told the Board at its meeting in the Walton County government building.

Parker and Chairman Kevin Little

The contractor is responsible for deciding how to divert water during the construction process, Parker said, and should work overtime to finish the dam and reservoir by the Jan. 20, 2015, completion date.

Parker said that the amount of rain on Dec. 22 was classified as a two-year rainfall, meaning that it is quite common, and Layne Heavy Civil Inc. simply had taken the risk that such a rain would not fall during the construction period as a way of saving money.

$18 Million Contract

The Management Board granted a contract for $17,779,450 to low bidder Layne Heavy Civil Inc. at its meeting on July 30 of last year.

The company has offices in Fairburn in Fulton County but operates globally and has its corporate headquarters in Woodlands, Texas.

The earthen dam is to be 100 feet tall and 1,900 feet long and hold back water for the 1,367 acres reservoir under construction in southeast Walton County.

The project is a joint one between Walton and Oconee counties. At present, neither county needs the water being stored, and no firm schedule has been put forward for construction of a water treatment facility and distribution system for the water once it is treated.

Web Site Update

In other action at the meeting today, the Board decided to spend $5,000 for an upgrade of its web site so that it can more effectively present information, including pictures of the construction underway, to the public.

At the same time, it decided not to spend $1,500 for a mobile enhancement for the site to make it easier for people to access the web site on the mobile devices, including cell phones and tablets.

Oconee County Commissioner and Board Vice Chairman Jim Luke said that he didn’t think most people would be interested in looking at “pictures on their phones.”

Parker also reported that only nine of the 167 parcels needed to complete the project remained to be purchased. He offered no time line for purchase of those properties.

Coffer Dam Explained

Parker showed the Board a series of pictures as a PowerPoint presentation demonstrating the breach of the coffer dam. The video below shows those pictures and offers Parker’s explanation of them.

The coffer dam is a temporary structure to hold back water while construction of the actual dam is underway.

Layne Heavy Civil Inc. installed three pipes in the coffer dam to allow water to flow through during that construction period.

Two of those pipes are 48 inches in diameter, and a third is 54 inches in diameter.

Hoping For Dry Weather

Parker said that the pipes would not accommodate the amount of water flowing through the creek after the rainfall on Dec. 22, causing the water to flow over the coffer dam and erode it.

The heavy rainfall earlier this year had no impact on the project, Parker said, because the coffer dam already had washed away.

The company is rebuilding a higher coffer dam at this time, but it has not increased the size of the diversion pipes, according to Parker.

The contractor is betting that the weather will be dry, Parker said.

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