USACE Galveston District to begin removal of Addicks and Barker Cofferdams

Published Jan. 6, 2020

HOUSTON – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District is set to begin removal of the cofferdams at Addicks and Barker Dams on Jan 6. The cofferdams have served as part of the dams, protecting the work site and the City of Houston for the past 30 months while new concrete outlet structures were constructed and the primary dam embankment restored.  Work to remove the cofferdams will begin at Barker Dam on Jan. 6 and shortly afterwards at Addicks Dam. 

“This is an important milestone in the construction project and is a critical activity prior to switching water flow to the new outlet structures,” said Andrew Weber, project manager at the Galveston District. “The new structures at both Addicks and Barker Dams are expected to be fully operational in Feb. 2020.”

According to Weber, once removal of the cofferdams begins, the newly restored primary dam embankment will be subject to increased monitoring and inspection by USACE engineers to further verify performance of the new embankment.  This work is part of a contract awarded to Granite Construction Company in the amount of $75M to replace the outlet control structures and install cutoff walls at both Addicks and Barker Dams.  The estimated contract completion date is summer 2020.

Constructed in the 1940s, both reservoirs are normally kept dry to preserve their overall capacity to impound storm water and reduce flood levels in Buffalo Bayou. When a rain event occurs, the gates are closed on the Addicks and Barker dams to reduce flooding below the reservoirs. When the downstream runoff has receded to non-damaging stages, reservoir operations resume, the gates are opened, and water is released.

The USACE Galveston District was established in 1880 as the first engineer district in Texas to oversee river and harbor improvements. Its main missions include navigation, ecosystem restoration, emergency management, flood risk management and regulatory oversight.

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Release no. 20-001