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Water Authority awards contract for largest phase of dam raise project

San Diego County Water Authority has awarded a contract for the third phase of construction on the San Vicente Dam raise project. The $140 million dam raise project is the largest of its kind in the world.

Oakland, Calif.-based Shimmick Construction Company Inc. and Japan-based Obayashi Corp. will apply roller-compacted concrete to the existing dam, raising it by 117 feet and increasing the reservoir’s capacity by 169 percent.

Owned by the city of San Diego, the dam currently stands 220 feet and will be raised a total of 337 feet when the project is complete in 2013. The project will provide 152,000 acre-feet of additional water storage. Of that amount, 100,000 acre-feet is dedicated to carryover storage and 52,000 acre-feet to emergency storage.

The project is the largest component of the Water Authority’s Emergency Storage Project (ESP). In development for more than a decade, the project is a system of reservoirs, pipelines and other facilities that will store and distribute water if a disaster, such as an earthquake strikes. The system will provide 96,000 acre-feet of water stored locally for emergency use, enough to supply the region for six months.

“The San Vicente Dam Raise project is a critical part of the Water Authority’s $1.5 billion plan to ensure that our region can call upon locally stored water reserves during emergencies or other periods of limited imported supplies,” said Maureen Stapleton, Water Authority general manager.

The construction contract also includes a new saddle dam, outlet tower, pipeline, control facility and access roads.

The bid awarded for the third phase of the construction contract was significantly below Water Authority estimates. The Water Authority completed a $627 million bond sale in January to free funds for capital improvement projects for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. Funds leftover due to the lower bid will allow the funds generated by the bond sale to be used on other projects.

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dave spears 7:29am July 1, 2010

What company is doing the inspection for this project?