BECKLEY, W.Va. — A multi-million dollar investment in the Bluestone Dam will allow work to continue on 287 strand anchors, which will maintain stabilization of the 2,048-foot-long structure that provides flood control for residents along the New River from Hinton to Charleston.
The federal funding — $9.6 million — will finance the latest option exercised by the Army Corps of Engineers. Planning began for the maintenance project in 1999 and completion is projected for 2019.
Resident Engineer Paul Carr said the strand anchors are made up of five-eighths inch steel cables; the largest anchor has 61 of those cables, he said.
Carr said it takes contractors about a month to complete the installation of the strand anchors — and that’s if everything is “perfect.”
The process began by building a platform across the face of the dam that would hold drilling equipment, cranes and about 50 people each day, Carr said.
Heeter Construction of Spencer, the company that was awarded the initial contract, uses a rotary drill with a diamond bit to drill a hole through the concrete and 40 feet into the bedrock below the dam, anywhere from a 150- to 240-foot vertical hole, Carr said.
If the hole isn’t straight enough, or water from the river can seep into the hole, then it has to be grouted and re-drilled, he said. Holes are 10 to 15 feet apart, and some of the concrete monoliths have up to seven strand anchors, he said.
Carr said an earlier contract put 216 strand anchors into the dam and another phase for an additional 36 anchors is expected to be awarded in the next fiscal year.
He said the work is being done to bring the dam up to modern-day flood control standards….