Corps awards contract for design services of highway at Isabella Lake

Published April 10, 2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District awarded a $775,000 contract Mar. 1, 2013, for design services to the joint venture of URS Group Inc., Kleinfelder West Inc. and Geomatrix Consultants Inc. for the relocation of U.S. Highway 178 and Lake Isabella Boulevard at Isabella Lake as part of the Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project.

The contract is for architectural engineering design work for the highway and street in the vicinity of the left abutment of the auxiliary dam. The Corps is coordinating closely with the California Department of Transportation on the relocation of Highway 178 and Lake Isabella Boulevard.

Part of the project includes raising both dams 16 feet. To accommodate this raise, both highways 178 and 155 were considered for relocations of less than one mile. The Corps is working with Caltrans on the possibility of installing a closure gate on U.S. Highway 155 in order to avoid relocating the highway. The proposed closure gate would instead serve as an extension of the raised dam, while allowing for through traffic, except during the rare occasion of extremely high lake levels. This is still only a proposal. A final determination about the way ahead is expected by the end of June.

“The closure gate is just one more way we’re trying to minimize the impact of the project on the local communities while still meeting the project’s goal,” said John Menniti, the Sacramento District’s project manager for the Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project.

Completed in 1953, Isabella Dam is located approximately 42 miles northeast of Bakersfield. The reservoir is impounded by two earthen dams on the Kern River and Hot Springs Valley. Today, Isabella Lake and its dams help reduce flood risk for Bakersfield and the surrounding region, and are a primary water source for water users throughout Kern County. The Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project looks to address overtopping, seismic and seepage issues identified with Isabella Lake’s main and auxiliary dams to reduce the likelihood of dam failure.

Members of the public who would like additional information on the Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project are encouraged to visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Isabella Lake website:
Carlos Lazo

Release no. 13-013