FOLSOM, Calif. – Concrete placement for Folsom Dam’s new auxiliary spillway began May 24 as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shifts gears from excavation to construction on the spillway’s control structure.
Construction of the new control structure, essentially a second dam, concludes more than four years of excavation, and will create a second release valve for Folsom Lake.
“It’s great seeing concrete placed on the site,” said Col. Bill Leady, commander of the Corps’ Sacramento District. "We've made a lot of progress, and now our entire team's collaborative efforts are coming together for everyone to see."
The spillway and control structure will allow dam operators to release water from Folsom Lake earlier and more quickly, reducing flood risk throughout the Sacramento region.
"Reclamation joins the Corps and all our partners and supporters in celebrating this historic step toward the completion of the Folsom Dam Joint Federal Project," said Dave Gore, assistant regional director of Reclamation's Mid-Pacific Region.
Standing nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty, and wider than a football field, the massive structure will have six gates situated 50 feet below those of the main dam. The spillway’s chute will channel the water to the American River, dissipating its speed through a stilling basin as it approaches the river.
“This spillway is the heart and centerpiece of various actions underway to achieve a 200-year level of flood protection for the people and property of the metropolitan Sacramento area,” said William (Bill) Edgar, president of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board.
Rick Johnson, executive director for the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, echoed the importance of the project to the region.
"The Folsom Joint Federal Project is a major component of SAFCA's goal to provide a minimum 200-year flood protection to the region,” Johnson said. “I commend our federal and state partners for working diligently and cooperatively to continue to advance this project.”
The spillway and control structure are the showpiece of a series of projects to improve the safety of Folsom Dam and reduce flood risk in Sacramento, called the Joint Federal Project. By collaborating, the Corps and the Bureau will save time and money on completing the project. The control structure is scheduled to be complete in fiscal year 2015. The spillway is scheduled to be complete in 2017.