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May 25 2012

Folsom Dam Spillway (CA) Construction (Video)

Map picture

Folsom Dam is a flood control structure and storage reservoir on the American River, a significant tributary to the Sacramento River, just outside of Sacramento in California’s Central Valley. The Corps of Engineers (Sacramento District) is in the process of constructing an auxiliary spillway to allow the dam to handle a higher flood flow. The spillway will come off the left side of the reservoir and have a capacity to pass over 300,000 cfs! It’s a massive construction project involving over 3 million cubic yards of excavation. The first video introduces the project while the second explains the control structure to be built. The third video is a fun one of some of the blasting efforts in the initial excavation. Construction of the full operational spillway is expected to be complete in 2017.

The Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway is an absolutely huge project but the lingering problem in the background is the American River downstream, as currently configured, actually couldn’t handle the potential large flood releases that the spillway will be designed to pass through. The American River downstream has its own issues including a migrating head cut but the capacity problem is definitely something the Corps and other agencies are wrestling with as upgrades are made to levees and more studies are done. Here is more information on the construction of the Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway:

Spillway construction at Folsom Dam site (Sacramento Bee)

Folsom Dam Joint Federal Project (USACE Site)

Auxiliary Spillway Brochure (USACE PDF)

Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway infograph (USACE Flickr)

1 comment

  1. Leroy McKane

    Loved the videos. It’s good to see how things are actually getting done.

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