Cracked Columbia River dam to be fixed this year

YAKIMA — The cracked Wanapum Dam should be repaired and its reservoir on the Columbia River near Vantage refilled by the end of the year, the Grant County Public Utility District said.

Workers for the utility have started drilling holes that will be used to anchor the dam in bedrock.

“It’s almost like putting a screw down into a block of wood,” said spokesman Thomas Stredwick.

The final repair plan is awaiting approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission but drilling anchor holes in advance will save time, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/1iFdEF3 ).

After the 65-foot-long spillway crack was discovered in late February, the utility lowered the reservoir 26 feet to reduce pressure. That left boat ramps and fish ladders high and dry. All shore access behind the dam was closed for public safety and to protect archaeological sites.

The utility modified fish ladders, and more than 23,000 spring chinook have passed the dam successfully, Stredwick said.

In May, the utility determined the crack was caused by a math error during the dam’s original construction in the early 1960s. More concrete and reinforced steel should have been initially used in all 13 of the spillway’s supporting blocks.

Workers are drilling three holes through each concrete block for steel cables that will be secured into the bedrock, then tightened to close the crack.

The repair work is expected to cost about $61 million, Stredwick said.

By late fall, the utility plans to begin raising the reservoir level slowly, to make sure the repaired dam remains stable. Bringing the water up 19 feet should be enough to restore public access to boat launches and recreational areas.

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Jogger unharmed after fending off attacker in Edmonds

Police released video of a man they believe to be the attacker.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

FILE - This Tuesday, May 30, 2017 file photo, former Washington Gov. John Spellman, second from left, leaves a memorial service in Renton, Wash. Spellman, the last Republican governor elected in Washington, has died at age 91. Spellman’s son, Seattle attorney David Spellman, confirmed his death Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren,File)
John Spellman was last GOP governor of Washingon

He had spent recent weeks “being very disappointed with the Cougs and the Huskies,” his son said.

Most Read