Construction of the original Blue Ridge Dam—then the largest earthen dam in the U.S.—began in 1925. The dam's 1,050-ft-long by 14-ft-dia riveted steel penstock—which carried water through the dam from the intake tower to the hydroelectric generator—was damaged in the 1930s when operators drained the pipe without lowering the reservoir elevation, causing a 60-ft-long bulge to form at the bottom of the penstock. As a result, regular drawdowns of the lake were required to inspect and maintain the penstock.
The Blue Ridge Dam Penstock Rehabilitation project in Blue Ridge, Ga., improved the structure and ensured public safety by removing the bulge, installing a new steel liner and filling in the annulus space with grout. The project helped sustain Blue Ridge Reservoir as one of the area's main tourist attractions.
General Contractor: Garney Cos. Inc., Alpharetta, Ga.
Owner: Tennessee Valley Authority, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Lead Design: Rizzo & Associates Inc., Monroeville, Pa.
Submitted by Garney Cos. Inc.