The ribbon-cutting ceremony, which officially marked the completion of the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Phase II project, was held at the project’s site on Tuesday, April 3, 2023. Sukut Construction, along with its joint venture partners, Flatiron and Dragados, broke ground on the project, located about 35 miles northeast of Bakersfield, California, in 2018.
The Lake Isabella Dam first became operational in 1953. The original site included a 185-foot-tall earth-filled main dam, a 100-foot-tall earth-filled auxiliary dam, and service spillways between the two dams. Over time, the spillway eroded through the granitic on-site rock and became filled with ogee water. This compromised the safety of the surrounding communities and threatened the levels of water in Lake Isabella. During the Safety Modification Phase II project, the joint venture team reinforced both dams, constructed a new emergency spillway, made modifications to SR 155, and improved adjacent recreational facilities and roadways.
The dam modification work included the excavation of 2.5 million cubic yards of earth and rock for a new emergency spillway, which required 385 rock blasting events; the construction of a 28-foot-tall and 3,030-foot-long Labyrinth Weir using 54,700 cubic yards of structural concrete; buttressing and raising the existing dam structures by 16 feet. Additionally, the joint venture team improved and enhanced the dam foundation by processing and placing over 2.3 million cubic yards of Zoned Fill embankment.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the end of Phase II was attended by the US Army Corps of Engineers, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Kern community leaders, as well as all parties involved in the construction.
In addition to the immense amount of work put into the modification of the site, the project’s safety culture proved to be top-notch. “The joint venture completed 2.6 million man-hours with only two lost time injuries on the project,” said Michael Crawford, the chairman of Sukut Construction.
Reference: 23 ABC Bakersfield