With more than 325,000 people at risk of losing their primary water source from a failure of the century old lock and dam on the Kentucky River, we helped bring the aging structure up to current criteria and ensure an additional 50 years of service. First, we performed thorough assessments, including above water conditions, dive inspections, and foundation and soils samples for the lock walls, main and auxiliary dams, and other ancillary structures. We then evaluated 20 dam raising alternatives and developed conceptual designs for the highest rated options.
A flood study of the river determined the impact on flood frequency associated with permanent increases to the existing dam elevations. While a structural analysis of lock and dam components was performed for a range of hydraulic loading conditions to determine the improvements required to raise the normal pool. Next, preliminary designs were prepared for the main dam, auxiliary dam, and abutment walls for both fixed crest and movable crest options.
Based on the preliminary design and updated assessment information, we developed a creative, award winning final design using an in-the-wet construction approach to reduce costs, risks, project duration, and environmental impacts. The renovations included the construction of a new dam immediately upstream of the existing structure, conveyance system to transfer water from upper to lower pools in times of drought, and scour and slope protection elements.