McCOOK, Nebraska -- The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has delayed the opening of bids for repair of Red Willow Dam north of McCook, Nebraska, until Tuesday, Aug. 23.
The Bureau advertised plans and specifications for the project in early July, and scheduled a bid opening for Aug. 9, and then Aug. 16.
A contract award is expected this fall with construction beginning later this year. Major construction could take at least two years.
The project will include the excavation of the downstream face of the dam and installation of a filter and drain system. The dam will then be reconstructed by replacing the excavation materials over the filter/drain system.
Also included in the work will be the construction of a downstream stability berm and a two-stage filter drain in the channel and slopes downstream of the spillway and outlet works stilling basins; repair of portions of the upstream dam face; and construction of a toe drain system with monitoring wells.
In October 2009, Bureau of Reclamation crews discovered a sinkhole in the face of the dam. Subsequent investigations revealed cracking through the embankment, which prompted the bureau to draw down Hugh Butler Lake, which is impounded by Red Willow Dam. In February 2010, the bureau began a "Corrective Action Study" to develop and analyze alternatives for the repair of Red Willow Dam.
Reclamation has established a web page at www.usbr.gov/gp/nkao/redwillow/ to provide the public with the most up-to-date information available. Users can register at the site to receive email or text updates as new information becomes available.
Red Willow Dam is located on Red Willow Creek 11 miles north of McCook.
It is an earthfill embankment with a structural height of 126 feet that forms a reservoir with a capacity of 85,070 acre-feet of water. The reservoir behind the dam is Hugh Butler Lake.
An ungated concrete spillway is located in the right abutment of the dam.
An outlet works through the base of the dam provides for river and irrigation releases for downstream diversions.