Colorado firm wins dam safety contract for Nebraska's Red Willow Dam

MCCOOK, Neb., U.S. 10/04/11 (PennWell) -- The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $15.3 million contract to SEMA Construction Inc. for rehabilitation of Red Willow Dam, which has been a concern since discovery of a sinkhole and cracking through the embankment in 2009.

Reclamation took bids for the dam safety repairs in August. Discovery of the sinkhole and the cracking prompted Reclamation 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.

SEMA, of Englewood, Colo., is 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, place geotextile on the coarse sand and gravel drain, construct 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.

"This investment will ensure Red Willow Dam will continue to serve the people of Nebraska and the nation for future decades," Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor said Sept. 27. "This contract helps us restore one of our key structures and helps create job opportunities."

Reclamation estimates the rehabilitation will create more than 160 direct and indirect jobs for a year.

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