Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What do Dams and Space Shuttles have in common?

The Calaveras Dam Replacement Project work site is a busy place on an average day. Machines both large and small are in constant motion, moving soils and materials from one side of the site to dispose of them on the other.

However, this Wednesday around lunchtime was different.  Work paused, for a short time, to celebrate the team’s achievement of another milestone. The team has moved a total of 2 million cubic yards of rock and soils since the project began in August 2011.  As the team enjoyed its well-earned pizza lunch to celebrate, we wondered how much dirt they’d just managed to move.

2 million cubic yards of dirt weighs as much as 1,656 space shuttles. It weighs as much as 1,175 Saturn V Rockets and weighs as much as 18,225 Boeing 747’s.

Here’s another question: Why? Building a dam is similar to painting a house, in that the majority of the work goes into the preparation. The team needs to remove all the loose materials on both sides of the valley and the valley floor so the new dam will be built upon a solid base.  The Calaveras Dam Replacement Project will have to move more than 9 million cubic yards of soils and rock during construction. About 3.5 million cubic yards of the materials will be used in the construction of the new dam, while the remainder will be disposed of onsite.

Two down, only seven million more cubic yards to go! And the crew is geared up, full of pizza, and ready to get going. 

Our Calaveras Dam work crews take a few moments to celebrate the important milestone of excavating
over 2 Million Cubic Yards of materials


As seen almost daily, a scraper moves soil and rock materials excavated at the project site

For more project info, please email mle@sfwater.org or call our 24 hour answer line at 866-973-1476




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