The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BR) has awarded a $15.3 million contract to SEMA Construction Inc. for rehabilitation of the Red Willow Dam in south-central Nebraska. Problems at the dam have been a concern since discovery of a sinkhole and cracking through the dam’s embankment in 2009.
SEMA, Englewood, Colo., is contracted to: excavate the embankment and toe drain, construct a filter/drainage blanket, place geonet composite on the excavated face of the embankment, construct a two-stage sand filter and coarse sand-drain system, install geotextile on the coarse sand and gravel drain, build a downstream stability berm, construct a two-stage filter drain in the channel and slopes downstream of the spillway and outlet works stilling basin, repair portions of the upstream dam face, and construct a toe drain system with monitoring wells.
Discovery of the sinkhole and the cracking prompted BR to draw down Hugh Butler Lake, an 86,630-acre-foot irrigation reservoir that is impounded by the dam on Red Willow Creek, 10 miles north of McCook, Neb.
“This investment will ensure Red Willow Dam will continue to serve the people of Nebraska and the nation for future decades,” said BR commissioner Michael L. Connor. “This contract helps us restore one of our key structures and helps create job opportunities.”
BR said it estimated that the dam rehabilitation project will create more than 160 direct and indirect jobs for a year.