DUCK RIVER — Workers at the site of the Duck River dam spent the week installing the first of 94 massive pipe pieces that will comprise a new diversion tunnel, with each piece weighing in excess of 40,000 pounds.
The city, via the utilities board, is creating a 640-acre lake with a 32-million-gallon-per-day capacity in northeast Cullman County. The project was originally estimated to cost approximately $68 million, and once complete will work in conjunction with the area’s current sole water source Lake Catoma.
While engineers rework the design, the board approved Phase I contractor Brasfield & Gorrie to move ahead with ancillary work on a diversion around the dam structure site.
Crews have completed rock blasting and the removal of the west bank to accommodate equipment to install the concrete pipe. They have also begun excavating the diversion trench and pored the first base slab that will set the line for the 10-foot diameter pipe.
The board had to have the diversion pipe pieces specially built in Pelham, from a design developed in Arkansas. The walls of each segment are more than a foot thick.
The Duck River Advisory Committee held its bi-monthly meeting just outside the construction site Wednesday, with Steve Newton, engineer of record with CH2M Hill.
Despite rainy weather and wet conditions, Newton said Brasfield & Gorrie is only one day behind schedule on the diversion project.
U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt also attended the meeting, and gave a brief statement of support for the project.
“This has been a project everyone has really rallied around to help make successful,” he said. “Cullman County and this area is really a bright spot for economic development.”
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