Committed team delivers Link River Dam infrastructure improvements early
Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office Operations and Maintenance (KBAO O&M) team completed infrastructure improvements to Link River Dam one year earlier. The bulkhead replacement project, involving several years of planning and material preparation, s was scheduled for completion over a three-year period ending in 2021, but the KBAO O&M team finished the project in two years.
Located west of Klamath Falls, Oregon, Link River Dam is constructed of reinforced concrete, is 22-feet high and has a crest length of 435 feet, which spans across Link River. Reclamation owns Link River Dam and uses the dam to regulate elevations within Upper Klamath Lake (UKL) and water releases from UKL into the Klamath River. UKL has an active storage capacity of 562,000 acre-feet and is the main source of water for the Klamath Project.
Built in 1921, the original 27 spillway bays of Link River Dam were fitted with temporary stop logs built with two 4-foot by 8-foot wood sections fastened together with 6-inch by 6-inch timber stiffeners. In the 1990s, PacifiCorp made improvements to 10 spillway bays with concrete bulkheads. Three other spillway bays have been altered through the years: one bay is used for the A Canal Fish Screen Bypass return pipe; one bay that is no longer in use is connected to the decommissioned fish ladder; and one is permanently sealed.
Due to changes for allowable stress loads of wood and the inability to procure old growth or timber suitable to replace the wooden-stop logs, Reclamation improved the remaining 14 bays with concrete bulkheads that are reinforced by steel rebar for strength and with rubber seals to prevent leaks. The bulkheads are set in guide slots that were retrofitted with stainless steel to prevent corrosion and provide a smooth surface for the rubber seals.
PacifiCorp, who operates Link River Dam to coordinate their downstream hydroelectric activities, assisted the KBAO O&M team by preparing project materials; welding the steel frames and placing the concrete for the 5,600-pound, 9-foot-tall, 8-foot-wide, 6-inch-thick bulkheads. After the KBAO O&M team completed work on the slots and frames of the 14 spillway bays, they used the gantry crane to lift and place the bulkheads into the slots.
The infrastructure project was originally scheduled to take three years, completing work on five bays the first year, five bays the second year, and four bays the third year. However, the KBAO O&M team were able to trim a year off the schedule and save a third of the budget by learning from their installation process.
By adjusting the steel angles and beam needed to set the bulkheads, the KBAO O&M team was able to service more bays in a shorter timeframe. This led to the KBAO O&M team to work more safely and efficiently; they placed bulkheads in seven bays in 2019 and seven bays in 2020.
While the primary feature of the new bulkheads is flood control, they will also fortify the structural integrity of the dam so that it can better withstand seismic activity. The bulkheads will be adjusted with the gantry crane by the KBAO O&M team to release flows for the Klamath River and to store water in UKL, which provides water for both irrigation and to protect endangered species’ habitat.
Completing the bulkhead installation project ahead of schedule resolves water leaking through 30-year-old wooden-stop logs, allowing for more easily controlled water releases and storage for 2021 and for many years to come.
Reclamation, in collaboration with the Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA), is working on system improvement plans to modernize and improve the Klamath Project’s irrigation infrastructure. Reclamation has awarded Tulelake Irrigation District (TID) a $340,000 grant to complete a system improvement plan with FCA by the end of 2022. (READ MORE →)
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. - Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt met with water users, tribal leaders, elected officials, Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office staff, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey, to find solutions for the Klamath Project. Joined by Reclamation’s Commissioner Brenda Burman, Regional Director Ernest Conant, Deputy...(READ MORE →)
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Last Updated: 10/16/20