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Olmsted Lock and Dam

  • Client:U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Location:Olmsted, Illinois, USA
  • Contract Amount:$900,000,000
  • Markets Served:Heavy Industrial

An Alberici joint venture is constructing a dam across the Ohio River using an innovative technique in which the dam is being built without a cofferdam.

The Olmsted Dam will include five 110-foot tainter gates and a navigable pass section with 1,400 feet of boat-operated wicket gates. A weir will tie the dam into the Kentucky bank.

In traditional dam construction, a temporary cofferdam is built to keep water away from the site. In an innovative approach, the Washington Group-Alberici joint venture (WGA) is constructing the Olmsted Dam without a cofferdam by driving pilings into the river bottom to form a foundation. WGA then places precast concrete sections on the foundation to construct the dam “in the wet.” This “in the wet” method has less impact on the riverbed.

WGA is utilizing a concrete batch plant adjacent to the river to make 47 concrete shells, the largest of which will weigh in excess of 2,700 tons. The shells, approximately 75 feet wide, 75 feet long and 75 feet tall, are lifted by a 5,100-ton gantry crane to the river's edge. From there, a catamaran barge transports the shells out into the river where they are  lowered into place.

Once the shells are set, concrete is pumped into the area under the shells to form a continuous bond between the foundation and the shells.

WGA has self-performed 96.5 percent of the work, including river bed excavation, pile driving, and casting and placement of the concrete shells.

To see a video on the Construction Innovation Award given to the WGA team, please click here.

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