Location

Chicago, Illinois

Session Start Date

4-29-2013

Session End Date

5-4-2013

Abstract

Addicks and Barker Dams are two flood risk management structures owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and recently classified as extremely high risk. These dams were built in the 1940’s in west Houston, Texas, upstream of a densely populated metropolitan area. The dams consist of 11 and 13 miles of rolled earth embankments, outlet structures with five barrel conduits, and uncontrolled spillways at both ends of both dams. The original design of both dams provided for four of the five outlet conduit barrels to be ungated, permitting a combined uncontrolled discharge from both dams of 15,700 cubic feet per second into Buffalo Bayou. Due to urban development throughout the 1940s and 50s, all conduit barrels of both dams were gated by 1963 to allow restricted discharge flows into Buffalo Bayou during normal operating conditions. These fundamental changes in operations together with the existence of erodible fine sand and silt foundation soil conditions led to the initiation of several potential failure modes at the outlet structures. These have been recently confirmed by the findings of voids beneath the conduits in both dams. Interim measures have temporarily stopped progression of the failures. This paper’s presentation mainly focuses on the history and issue evaluations of the outlet structures of these dams and the interim measures and long term solutions under consideration for reducing risks associated with these critical infrastructures.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

Seventh Conference

Publisher

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

4-29-2013

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 2013 Missouri University of Science and Technology, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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Apr 29th, 12:00 AM May 4th, 12:00 AM

High-Risk Flood Control Dams on Difficult Soil Foundations

Chicago, Illinois

Addicks and Barker Dams are two flood risk management structures owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and recently classified as extremely high risk. These dams were built in the 1940’s in west Houston, Texas, upstream of a densely populated metropolitan area. The dams consist of 11 and 13 miles of rolled earth embankments, outlet structures with five barrel conduits, and uncontrolled spillways at both ends of both dams. The original design of both dams provided for four of the five outlet conduit barrels to be ungated, permitting a combined uncontrolled discharge from both dams of 15,700 cubic feet per second into Buffalo Bayou. Due to urban development throughout the 1940s and 50s, all conduit barrels of both dams were gated by 1963 to allow restricted discharge flows into Buffalo Bayou during normal operating conditions. These fundamental changes in operations together with the existence of erodible fine sand and silt foundation soil conditions led to the initiation of several potential failure modes at the outlet structures. These have been recently confirmed by the findings of voids beneath the conduits in both dams. Interim measures have temporarily stopped progression of the failures. This paper’s presentation mainly focuses on the history and issue evaluations of the outlet structures of these dams and the interim measures and long term solutions under consideration for reducing risks associated with these critical infrastructures.