TUTTLE CREEK DAM, Kan. — Nearly 90,000 tons of rock is scheduled to be placed on the face of Tuttle Creek Dam, near Manhattan, Kansas, within the next couple years to repair damages from the 2019 high-water event.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, received funding from both the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, or DRSAA, and from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or BIL, for the $15.5 million project. Receiving additional funding through the BIL has allowed USACE to deliver the project faster than expected.
“Our team was trying to see how we could split this up into multiple phases – at least three initially – but with the funding we got, we were able to keep the project to two phases and the second phase would bring the project to completion. Getting that funding allowed us to complete the entire expanse of work and provide that resiliency for the dam,” said Craig Weltig, Tuttle Creek Dam rip rap repairs project, project manager.
Though the funding for the project came in 2022, the planning has been in the works for nearly three years.
“During the 2019 flood, we stored water in the lake for an extended period of time and the wave action that occurred on the dam caused erosion in the portion of the embankment that we are overlaying with rock,” said Brian Mcnulty, Tuttle Creek Lake operations project manager.
The extent of damage that occurred during the flood and its continuation of observed erosion during the dam’s periodic inspection in 2020 identified the problem, and the design for the project kicked off soon after, according to Weltig.
The contract for the project’s construction was advertised and awarded to ESI Contracting Corporation in summer 2022.
Construction to place up to 7,000 linear feet of rip rap overlay and bedding material on the face of the earth-filled dam started in fall 2022. Repairing the rip rap on the face of the dam is important for the resiliency of the structure.
“The rip rap is basically the armoring layer over the outside [of the dam] that minimizes erosion to the more erodible parts of the dam … [This project] ensures the integrity of the dam during the next high-water event we have here at Tuttle Creek Lake,” said Mcnulty.
Construction of the project is scheduled to last until summer 2025, depending on weather. The rock is being produced and delivered by a local quarry, and local trucking companies are delivering the rock to the project site.
Due to the presence of heavy equipment and rock deliveries at the work site, all the public parking areas at both ends of the dams are closed due to safety reasons and will remain closed for the duration of the project.