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Kiewit Infrastructure wins contract for Klamath River dam removal in U.S.

Klamath dam removal

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) has entered into a dam removal design-build contract with Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. The initial award authorizes $18.1 million in preliminary services, with a further award for project implementation work to follow once design is finalized.  

KRRC was formed to take ownership of four PacifiCorp dams — J.C. Boyle, Copco, No. 1 & 2, and Iron Gate — and then remove these dams, restoring formerly inundated lands and implementing required mitigation measures in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations. The four dams impounded water for hydroelectric powerhouses with a total capacity of 129.27 MW.

KRRC’s work is funded by PacifiCorp customer surcharges and California Proposition 1 water bond funds. 

“Selecting Kiewit marks another key achievement and brings KRRC closer to completing the largest dam removal and river restoration project in U.S. history,” said Mark Bransom, KRRC Chief Executive Officer. “This contract will help demonstrate KRRC’s capacity to undertake the project consistent with a license transfer application pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,”

Kiewit has extensive experience in major construction projects, most recently the emergency reconstruction of the Oroville Dam spillways. Kiewit has also undertaken projects such as the Folsom Dam Spillway Construction (Phases II & IV), East Toba and Montrose Hydroelectric Design Build and the Kwalsa and Upper Stave Hydroelectric Design Build.

"We are very proud to have been selected by KRRC,” said Jamie Wisenbaker, senior vice president, Kiewit Infrastructure West. “We fully understand the breadth and importance of this undertaking and are excited and committed to safely delivering a high-quality project that meets the expectations of KRRC, the community and all key stakeholders in the region.” 

Kiewit has assigned Knight Piesold as the lead designer of the KRRC project. The selection of the restoration contractor will be forthcoming.

Under this agreement, Kiewit will use the progressive design-build (PDB) delivery method, assuming responsibility for the design and execution of dam removal and river restoration, to be completed across two phases. 

The preliminary services phase will include design, planning, permitting support, native seed bank development, and other preparation for the later drawdown of the reservoirs. This work will begin immediately.

The project implementation phase will be awarded to Kiewit at the end of the preliminary services phase, beginning with pre-drawdown work including dam modifications for drawdown of the reservoirs, road and bridge access improvements to accommodate construction vehicle traffic, and bridge and culvert improvements to accommodate new river and creek geometry. 

After the reservoir drawdown, project implementation will focus on dam and hydropower facilities removal, recreation facilities removal, creation of new recreation facilities, and restoration of formerly inundated land and other disturbed areas. The project implementation phase is contingent on FERC’s approval of license transfer and license surrender, as well as other regulatory permits.

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