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Combining Technical Expertise, Innovative Communication to Provide Safe Infrastructure

Black & Veatch Combines Technical Expertise, Innovative Communication to Provide Safe Infrastructure for Missouri River

Project Name
Spillway Rehabilitation of Fort Randall and Gavins Point Dams
Fort Randall Dam, South Dakota; Gavins Point Dam, Nebraska
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District

In May 2011, almost a year’s worth of rain fell over the upper Missouri River basin. The heavy rainfall and a higher-than-normal snowpack in the Rocky Mountains caused severe flooding in the upper Missouri River system. With estimated damages of over $234 million to the Missouri River Mainstem projects (dams, bank stabilizations, and navigations projects) and associated infrastructure, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, asked the Black & Veatch and Royal Bridge, Inc., team to perform the design-build services required to rehabilitate 21 gates at Fort Randall Dam and 14 gates at Gavins Point Dam.

Black & Veatch’s role in the project was to provide the structural engineering design services. This included providing engineering expertise, pre- and post-construction inspections, drawings, design analysis, fabrication shop inspections and engineering support during construction.

Black & Veatch exceeded client expectations throughout the project by utilizing a variety of unique tools to improve the performance of the project team and to facilitate effective communication. During inspection of the existing conditions at the gates, Black & Veatch used iPads to document inspection information while rappelling off the dam, and final as-repaired information. The field notes were then immediately updated via iCloud, and in-office Black & Veatch engineers quickly made use of the information to update structural models.

The Black & Veatch team also provided a highly-qualified and professionally certified team to perform important safety inspections and protocols, which were vital to the effective completion of this project. With a team of professionals certified in using rope inspection techniques, weld inspection and construction site safety protocols, an existing condition 3-D structural model was developed to demonstrate the structural integrity of the gates. Results from this analysis were then used to identify repairs and rank these repairs in order of importance. A future condition 3-D structural model was also developed to demonstrate the improvement in structural integrity with damages repaired.

"I want to thank everyone for all of the hard work getting the IFC (issued for construction drawings) approved, which was a difficult and challenging hurdle. I wanted you guys to know that out of the six dam projects, the Ft. Randall IFC is the first and only on approved. Great job!"

Kevin Guth, Project Manager, Royal Bridge, Inc., 11 March 2014

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