In 2011, a 55-foot-long section of the Bear River Canal near Colfax, California, failed. The canal failure disrupted water supply for thousands of residents of western Placer County. As a result, SAGE was hired to design a repair that could address the emergency nature of the response and be implemented quickly while ensuring the safety of construction crews – an effort that required the successful integration of the design and construction teams.
SAGE recommended that a contractor be brought in to help evaluate the cost, constructability, and safety of the various alternative solutions, creating an integrated project delivery-type process, which streamlined design and enabled the contractor to mobilize immediately upon approval of the construction documents.
SAGE evaluated the geologic/geotechnical conditions of the failure area, and developed a repair procedure employing a rapid-setting, unreinforced cementitious fill to replace the slope materials lost in the canal failure. The cementitious fill created a stable subgrade for a new, 116-foot-long, reinforced concrete flume section, eliminating the need for significant personnel or equipment to work in proximity to the potentially unstable scarp created by the failure. We acted as the Design Engineer for the project and prepared plans and specifications according to our client’s standards that were suitable for rapid review and approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
SAGE worked together with the client and general contractor to support 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week construction. Pre-failure flows were restored to the canal just over six weeks after the failure occurred, and 10 days ahead of schedule. Once service was restored, work continued to permanently protect areas adjacent to the repair and restore disturbed areas to their natural state, where possible. SAGE provided part– to full-time construction observation and engineering support services during the construction and site restoration activities.