Buchanan Dam Project Earns USSD Award

John Wolfhope

USSD Vice President Dean Durkee; Doug Witkowski, LCRA; Les Boyd and Layne Bukhair, both Water Resources Design, Austin.

The United States Society on Dams presented the 2017 Award for Excellence in the Constructed Project to the Buchanan Dam Emergency Gate Dewatering System at the Society’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California, earlier this month. The national award was accepted by client Doug Witkowski of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), Les Boyd and Layne Bukhair. Project Manager Victor Vasquez thanked some of the many employees who have worked on this project over a period of many years, including Dustin Mortensen, Matt Moses, Patrick Miles, John Rutledge, Tony Diaz, Misty Thomison, Brad Watson, John Wolfhope, Trey Hunter, Noe Ortiz and Claudio Branch.

Capping efforts originating in the 1970s, long-term improvements to Buchanan Dam have included:

  • Keeping the dam in compliance with state and national standards for large, high-hazard dams — As part of this effort, one hundred-ten post-tensioned anchors were added at non-overflow sections at Buchanan to address higher flood loads and potential instability.
  • Enhancing emergency response capability — 26 hoists were added to gated spillways to enable faster, safer responses to severe weather.
  • Developing a dewatering system to enable rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance of the 37 tainter gates — seven 40’x25’ and thirty 33’x15’ gates.

This is the second time in the past decade that a Freese and Nichols team has received this national honor. It was also awarded in 2008 to the Lake Brazos Labyrinth Weir in Waco, Texas.