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Army Corps of Engineers initiates work to improve Chena dam safety


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, has issued contracts to two Fairbanks small business firms to conduct interim risk reduction measures at the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project near North Pole.

The Corps issued a $195,000 contract to Denali Steel Erection, Inc., to reduce the elevation of the project's floodway sheet pile control sill. The Corps issued the sole source contract through the U.S. Small Business Administration's 8(A) program. This company is also listed as a Service Disabled Veteran business and HUBZone. The HUBZone program promotes job growth, capital investment and economic development in a historically underutilized business zone.

The Corps awarded a competitive contract to Rock & Dirt Environmental, Inc., for $175,080 to clear trees and brush from approximately 82 acres near the dam and floodway.

Both projects resulted from a Corps of Engineers safety review of Corps owned dams nationwide. Results of the safety review at the Chena project's Moose Creek Dam indicated an unacceptable risk to the public during impoundment of flood waters from the Chena River. The findings presented an urgent and compelling requirement for interim risk reduction measures and long-term solutions. These projects implement two of the ten interim risk reduction measures. Visit the Alaska District Dam Safety Program website at www.poa.usace.army.mil/en/DamSafety for further information.

The control sill, a 2,000-foot long sheet pile wall, was constructed to keep floodwaters from the Tanana River from entering the project's floodway. Hydrologic modeling of the project showed that lowering the sill wall from 506.65 feet to an elevation of 502 feet will have the most desired effect of reducing risk by reducing the elevation of impounded water while still performing under most circumstances of Tanana River high water events. This project is scheduled for completion before May 1.

The vegetation removal contract calls for clearing in four areas, including a 50-foot wide corridor running the entire length on the downstream side of the 8-mile long dam; 30.9 acres located at the very south end of the Chena floodway adjacent to the sheet pile sill; a 1.4 acre area 50 feet wide and 1,230 feet long adjacent to the dam's toe on the north end and upstream side; and less than an acre at the Visitor Kiosk site near the outlet works. All this work will be completed by April 30. Trees salvaged from this operation will be made available to the public by the Corps later this season through a firewood permit system.

For more information about the Corps of Engineers' Alaska District, visit our web site at: http://www.poa.usace.army.mil.

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