California Dept. of Water Resources investigators are trying to discover why a steel bulkhead failed on July 22 during routine hydraulic tests at Oroville Dam. Five workers were injured when a 6-ft-tall, 10-ft-wide nonstructural steel wall in a diversion tunnel at the dam’s powerplant collapsed during a routine annual hydraulic-valves test. The incident shut the plant for about two hours until the bulkhead was repaired, according to Carl Torgerson, DWR chief of operations and maintenance. The investigation will take about two months to conclude, says Pete Scheele, DWR field division chief. Officials from the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.