Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Engineering of Demolition Projects

Wired takes a look at the planning of some cool demolition projects:

Demolition began: 2013 | Duration of project: 3 years
California’s San Clemente Dam opened in 1921, and today its reservoir is choked with silt. That means an earthquake or flood could send a wall of mud sliming down the Carmel River and the valley below, damaging more than a thousand buildings. So dam owner California American Water and state and federal resource agencies decided to take it down. Dynamite isn’t an option because of the dirt and water that would spew forth, so engineers decided to move the river instead. —Eric Smillie
Cut a Notch
Crews are going to cut a 450-foot-long canyon through the ridge behind the dam and carve a new river channel around the sediment to neighboring San Clemente Creek. “I’m not aware of any other dam removal project that’s looked at that type of option,” says Richard Svindland, director of engineering for California American Water. “River rerouting is tough to do.” This Herculean task, the largest dam removal in state history, will involve building a diversion dike to direct the water along its new course.
Demolish the Dam
To make way for the water, workers will haul 380,000 cubic yards of sediment from San Clemente Creek (where the new river will run) and dump it on the main heap of silt, which will remain permanently. Then they’ll pick the dam apart with hoe rams. Eventually, the rerouted river will flow through the spot where the structure once stood.
There's some awesome stuff in the article.

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