Moving Forward

As of early March, it looks like we have forward motion on repairs to the dam.  We are particularly relieved because City Commissioners agreed that building a coffer dam is critical to the next stage of repairs to the dam.  Without a coffer dam, there is no way we could ensure that the repairs could be done.  We have been waiting for a window of low water to do repairs for the last two years.  Without a coffer dam, we could be waiting indefinitely.  Equally important, the construction of a coffer dam will allow the repairs to be done efficiently and effectively, something we believe would have been extremely difficult if not impossible under the previous plan of conducting the repairs without a coffer dam.  Certainly it made a difference that we were able to get a bid on a coffer dam that was substantially lower than what Black and Veatch had predicted.  Black and Veatch had given a number in a FERC conference call of one million dollars… which we thought seemed pretty darn high.  Fortunately, we were able to find another firm that would do the coffer dam for @ $350,000 – a significant savings to what Black and Veatch had proposed.  Whew!!!  The City is currently taking a look at this alternative proposal.  We are hopeful we’ll be able to make this happen.  Not only will a coffer dam ensure that the repairs can get done and that they will be done more efficiently and effectively, but drying out the dam through the use of a coffer dam will allow us to get a good look at the upstream side of the dam – something that hasn’t happened since 1978.  Certainly we could find just about anything when we expose that upstream face, but Bowersock feels strongly that it is better to understand what we are dealing with than to catastrophize about potential problems about which we know very little.  We are hopeful that the Bowersock Dam will be one of the many timber crib structures in the United States that have lasted well over 100 years and are predicted to last at least another 100.  There are engineering firms that are not comfortable with old structures because they can’t certify them, but there are others that have significant experience in restoring old structures, saving communities millions of dollars in the process.