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CONSTRUCTION OF A 100-FOOT DEEP COFFERDAM IN THE OHIO RIVER W. James Marold, PE ABSTRACT The American Municipal Power, Inc.

(AMP) is in the process of planning, design and construction of six new hydroelectric projects adjacent to existing USACE Locks and Dams on the Ohio River. The projects will deliver about 300 Megawatts of new power to the grid in the Ohio River Valley. Four of the projects are now under construction with two others in licensing applications. The four projects under construction are at Locks and Dams at Smithland, Cannelton, and Meldahl all in Kentucky and Willow Island in West Virginia. The Cannelton Hydroelectric project was the first to acquire licensing. This paper describes the construction of the cofferdam that was built to facilitate construction of Cannelton Hydroelectric project. The cofferdam was completed in September 2010. The cofferdam for the Cannelton Hydroelectric Project was constructed on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River just west of the Domtar Paper plant and about 5 miles upstream of Hawesville, Kentucky. AMP awarded the cofferdam and powerhouse excavation construction contract to Kiewit Traylor Constructors A Joint Venture (KTC) on February 7, 2009. The project was a design-build contract with Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE) preparing the detailed cofferdam design and KTC carrying out the construction. This paper describes the construction of the cofferdam on land and in the Ohio River, the means and methods including the up to 137 foot deep cement-bentonite slurry wall to top of bedrock, rock fill placement in the river to form the Marine dike, vibrocompaction of sand fill material within the rock fill dikes, earthfill, excavation, and emergency flood gate structure. Installation of deep dewatering wells, piezometers, inclinometers and monitoring points is also discussed. Lessons learned include measures taken during the Ohio River flood occurrence in December, 2009.
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Figure 1. Site Location Map

Principal professional engineer and resident engineer for cofferdam contract, MWH Global, Inc.700 West Wescor Road, Hawsville, Kentucky, 42348, james.marold@mwhglobal.com.

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INTRODUCTION American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) is a nonprofit leader in wholesale power supply for municipal electric systems. AMP serves 129 members - 128 member municipal electric communities in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia and the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, a joint action agency headquartered in Smyrna, Delaware. Combined AMP's member communities serve over 565,000 customers. The Cannelton Hydroelectric project has a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license, and US Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit. The project has multiple construction and equipment supply contracts including site clearing, cofferdam construction, turbine generator equipment, transmission line, gate equipment, powerhouse cranes, generator step-up transformers, trash rack and log grabber equipment and reinforcing steel supply. The cofferdam contact was for construction of a 100 acre, 108 foot deep cofferdam to allow construction of the powerhouse in the dry adjacent to the USACE Cannelton Lock and Dam. The project is subject to FERC, USACE, and a Board of Consultants approval. The normal upstream pool level is El. 383 and the normal low pool downstream of the USACE dam is El. 358 providing an effective 25 feet of hydraulic head for generation of electricity. The Cannelton cofferdam design includes a 3,641 foot long earthen structure with a 2,400 foot long clay fill dike constructed on stripped natural ground on the landside and a 1,250 foot long marine dike composed of zoned rock, sand and clay fill constructed in the Ohio River founded on alluvial deposits that form the river bottom. The crest of the cofferdam was set at Elev. 405 Ohio River Datum (OHD), which is 2.6 feet above the calculated 100 year flood. The bottom of the powerhouse excavation within the cofferdams interior was excavated to El. 297, 108 feet below the cofferdams crest. The riverside section of the cofferdam abutted the USACEs dams left abutment and cellular overflow weir. An existing 60-foot deep sheet pile wall extended 510 feet southeast into the abutment from the cellular overflow structure. Riprap and derrick stone existed behind this wall to prevent high river flows from cutting a bypass around the lock and dam. On February 17, 2009, AMP awarded the design-build cofferdam and excavation contract to Kiewit Traylor Constructors (KTC), a Kiewit and Traylor Brothers joint venture. Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE) from New York City prepared the detailed design and construction documents. MWH served as AMPs owners engineer and was responsible for reviewing and approving the design and constructions documents. These documents were also subject to review and approval by the FERC, USACE and a FERC mandated Board of Consultants. Construction began on May 18, 2009. The site was cleared, grubbed and stripped prior to start of work. Photo No. 1shows the project site prior to start of construction. Photo No. 2 shows the project site with the completed cofferdam and orientation with the USACE Lock and Dam. Figure 2 provides cross sections of the land and marine dikes.

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Photo 1. Cofferdam site prior to start of construction with USACE Dam at left

Clay fill dike

Overflow weir

Marine dike

Emergency Flood Structure

Photo 2. Completed cofferdam and excavation with USACE Dam on the left

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Figure 2. Cross sections of the Land and Marine Dikes

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COFFERDAM CONSTRUCTION Cofferdam construction on the landside commenced with construction the lower portion of the clay dike up to El. 400 to provide a working platform for construction of the cofferdams cement-bentonite cut-off wall. Concurrently work began on the marine dike with the underwater placement of rock fill sections along the dikes interior and exterior toes. The river bottom had been surveyed by side-scan sonar in 2007. This survey formed the basis of the bid for the cofferdam contract. Recognizing that river bottom conditions can vary from season to season, a contract allowance was provided for supplemental rock fill and removal of unsuitable foundation material should the river bottom topography be found to be lower and/or softer than anticipated. A 2009 side-scan survey indicated that the river bottom contours were in fact lower than the 2007 contours and therefore part of the allowance was used to provide additional rock fill. The rock fill was a graded limestone quarry rock from 46 inch top size to 3 inch minimum size with a 50% size of about 22 inches. This material was obtained from Mulzer Crushed Stone, Inc. (Mulzer) quarry located in Leavenworth, Indiana. The rock fill was transported by barges from the quarry and off loaded into the river bottom by two crane barges, one placed material using crane with a three leaf grapple and the other used a long reach excavator with a large bucket. A visual footprint of the width of the rock fill on the river bottom in the crane cabs was used by crane operators to locate placements of rock fill. Photo 3 and 4 provide an aerial view of the rock fill dike progress and a land side view of the barges placing the rock fill. Photo 5 is a close up of the bucket and the grapple used to make the placements. The two parallel side by side rock fill sections of the marine cofferdam (one landside and one riverside) were constructed first starting from the rivers edge just downstream of the existing dams cellular overflow weir and further downstream where the marine cofferdam reconnects with the landside cofferdam. Photo 3 shows the rock fill sections being placed in the river from the downstream river bank. The rock fill sections were about 1,200 feet long with 1.75H: 1.0V exterior side slopes and 1.5H: 1.0V interior side slopes. The top elevation of the rock fill dikes was El. 365, an elevation selected because it was above typical water levels during the summer months. Once a length of rock fill dike was completed, a three foot thick bedding material consisting of 4 inch to inch size graded crushed rock material was placed by clam bucket on the interior slopes of the rock fill to smooth the interior faces of the section. Then filter fabric was draped over this transition material to prevent the sand that would form the center of the marine dike from migrating into voids in the rock fill. Sand dredged by Mulzer from the river bottom and sluiced into barges near Troy, Indiana was then brought to the site where a clam bucket was used to place the sand between the rock fill sections, taking care not to damage the filter fabric. Once the sand fill between the rock fill sections reached El. 365, a 70 foot long vibratory probe with an eccentric moment of 3400 inch-pounds operating at 90 rpm was used to compact the sand by probing at a triangular spacing of 17.5 feet on center. Care was taken to make sure the probing extended no closer than 3 feet away from the filter fabric.

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The specification required that the sand was densified so that the angle of internal friction was 34 degrees or higher. Densification was verified by cone penetration testing (CPT) probing. Subsequent to underwater sand placement and compaction, sand fill was placed and compacted in the dry up to El. 390. A geogrid composite, consisting of filter fabric and reinforcing geogrid was placed on the exterior surface of the marine dikes compacted sand fill and covered with two foot thick 24 to 1 graded riprap. The cement-bentonite cut-off wall though the marine dike was constructed from El. 390 though the sand fill and sandy alluvial river bottom foundation material down to the top of rock. Once the cut-off wall was complete, the final 15 feet of the marine embankment was constructed of compacted clay fill. The exterior side of the clay fill was overlain by geogrid composite and riprap. The slopes of the compacted sand and clay fills were 2.5H: 1.0V on both exterior and interior slopes.

Photo 3. Rock fill sections placed in river for the cofferdams marine dike

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Photo 4. View of excavator and grapple barges placing rock fill on river bottom

Photo 5. View of bucket (left) and grapple (right) used to place rock fill from barge CUT-OFF WALL CONSTRUCTION The cofferdams cement-bentonite slurry cut-off wall was required to be at least 31.5 inches thick with an average coefficient of permeability of 110-6 centimeters per second and an unconfined compressive strength of at least 20 psi after the slurry sets up at about 14 days. The cut-off wall was required to extend to the top of rock, which was present at a depth of approximately 130 and 140 feet below the riverside and landside work platforms, respectively. A key into rock was not required. However, excavation of weathered rock and incidental scarifying the top of rock was anticipated to occur while excavating and cleaning the bottom of the slurry trench.

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The cut-off wall was constructed in panels using a hydromill and a crane-mounted 20 ton clam bucket. Photos 6, 7 and 8 show the hydromill and clam bucket used. The hydromill constructed the 10 foot wide primary panels and the clam bucket constructed 12 foot wide secondary panels. The clam bucket excavated at least 6 inches into each of the adjoining primary panels to obtain a good connection between panels. Control of the panel locations for the hydromill was by use of a Defined Measurement System (DMS) that measured verticality and rotational deviation in the x and y axis. Verticality and rotational deviation of the clam bucket was measured using a Teraban device. The orientation of each panel was plotted in three dimensions. The plots of adjoining panels were overlaid to verify overall continuity of the wall. Continuity between the primary and secondary panels was defined as maintaining a minimum thickness of 10 inches in any portion of the wall. The cut-off wall was constructed from a working platform about 40 feet wide on the landside and about 80 feet wide on the riverside. KTC placed concrete guide walls along the entire length of the wall to serve as a guide for the hydromill and the clam bucket. The guide walls were about 2.5 and 3.5 feet deep. In advance of panel construction with the hydromill and clam bucket, an excavator was used to excavate the upper 20 feet under cement-bentonite slurry. Throughout slurry wall construction, the trench was kept full of slurry to within 2 feet of the ground surface and at least 3 feet above groundwater at all times.

Photo 6. Hydromill used to excavate primary cut-off wall panels

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Photo 7. View of the cutting teeth of the Hydromill

Photo 8. Liberhh Crane and 20 ton clam bucket used to excavate secondary panels To verify that the primary panels had reached the top of rock, the slurry pumped to the de-sander was monitored as the hydromill was approaching the expected top of rock excavation. Top of rock was determined to have been reached when continued scraping at the base of the trench with the clam produced no significant rock pieces, just rock

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chips. Depth soundings were taken at each panel excavated to provide an accurate record of the cut-off wall depth. The depth of adjoining panels was compared to confirm no abrupt changes occurred in elevation along the bottom of the wall. The cut-off walls cement-bentonite slurry was mixed at an on-site batch plant that could mix two 6 cubic yard batches concurrently. Photo 9 shows the batch plant used. A six cubic yard mix consisted of 1,150 gallons of water, 480 pounds of bentonite, 960 pounds of slag cement, and 0.64 gallons of Aquafix, a proprietary chemical provided by Liquid Earth that controlled the set time of the self-hardening slurry mix. The unit weight of the mix was between 66 to 68 pounds per cubic foot. Samples were taken at one third, two thirds and near the bottom depth points for each day panels were constructed. An on-site laboratory tested samples retrieved from the trench for coefficient of permeability and compressive strength. The average k value was 6.0210-7 cm/sec based on 125 samples tested at an average age of 102 days. The average unconfined compressive strength was 43.9 psi based on 541 samples tested at an average age of 59 days.

Photo 9. Batch Plant used to mix the Cement Bentonite Slurry Wall CUT-OFF WALL PRODUCTION Work on the cofferdam cofferdams cement-bentonite cut-off wall began on August 31, 2009, starting on the landside. KTC worked on 8 hour day shift from August 31 to September 8 and then began two12 hour shifts 7 days per week on September 9, 2009. A half day was utilized each week for maintenance of the equipment. Cut-off wall construction was completed on December 30, 2009. The production was about 23 panels (230 lineal feet) per week.

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DEWATERING WELLS AND INSTRUMENTATION KTCs dewatering subcontractor Moretrench, Inc. installed 20 deep dewatering wells. The wells were spaced in a ring around the inside of the cofferdams crest. Photo No. 10 shows the installation rig. The 12-inch diameter wells were taken to the top of rock, which was found between about Elev. 249 and 260. The pumps were 15 HP, 250 gpm capacity stainless steel submersible pumps capable of pumping 140 feet with a 4-inch diameter Schedule 80 PVC pipe connected by a 4-inch diameter flexible hose to an 18inch diameter HDPE header pipe. Each well has a Rossum Sand Tester port, a check valve, flow meter with totalizer, and an isolation butterfly valve. Backup generators are on-site in the event of a power loss.

Photo 10. Drilling dewatering well Cofferdam instrumentation consists of 18 vibrating wire piezometers installed in holes drilled to the top of rock. A one inch diameter standpipe was included in each hole drilled to allow manual measurements with a water level indicator if needed. All piezometers had solar panels and are connected to an automated data acquisition system that uploads data to a secured website where it can be assessed by project staff and regulators. The piezometers are positioned to provide piezometric pressure both inside and outside the cofferdams cut-off wall. The piezometers indicate that there is a head drop across the cut-off wall of between 70 to 85 feet. This indicates that the cut-off wall is performing as intended. Other instrumentation included inclinometers and survey monuments on the USACE dam, along the cofferdams crest and the USACEs overflow weir. These readings have indicated horizontal and vertical movements of up to about 1 inch during the construction of the cofferdam,

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EMERG GENCY FLO OOD GATE E STRUCTURE to enable co The emergency e flood f gate str ructure was constructed c ontrolled floo oding of the cofferdams inter rior in the ev vent of a floo od exceeding g the 100 yea ar flood. Th he structure consi ists of a reinf forced concr rete structure e with four 1 10 feet wide by 10 foot h high box culve ert outlets. A grouted rip prap spillway y chute was constructed d from the cu ulvert disch harge slab an nd ultimately y extended do own the exc cavation slop pe to the base e of the powe erhouse exca avation at El. 297. Grout ted riprap ba affles were c constructed n near the bottom of the chu ute to minim mize erosion at the base o of the excava ation, if the f flood gate struct ture were req quired to be operated. Ph hoto 11 belo ow shows a g grout placem ment. The invert i of the box structur re is at El. 38 89, 16 feet b below the cofferdams cr rest. The upstream side of the structure e is sealed with w a row of f 16 x 16 inch h wood nee edle beams place ed side-by-side with one king pin H-pile H in the e middle of t the wood bea ams. The exterior face of th he beams is covered by a membrane e to minimize e seepage du uring times o of quired, the structure wou uld be opera ated by remo oval of the ki ing pin and high water. If req equent remov val of each wood w beam until u the enti ire area in fr ront of the bo ox structure subse is ope en to the rive er. If the riv ver is predict ted to rise ab bove the 100 0 year flood event, the gate would w be op perated at the e direction of f the USACE E. The timin ng would de epend on the e current river leve el and rate of f rise. Durin ng a high riv ver level on April A 28, 2011, the river r rose to Elev v. 397.3 (8.3 3 feet above the in nvert of the box b outlet). In this situa ation, some w water seeped d through the e needle beam ms, but this re educed with time, possib bly due to be eams swellin ng. This floo od was the 7th highe est ever recorded at Cann nelton Lock and Dam. D During this e event both th he needle beam ms and coffer rdam itself performed as intended.

Phot to 11. Placin ng grout for the top of th he culvert ou utlet structure e

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EXCAVATION The excavation for the powerhouse was staged with cofferdam construction to enable excavation of impervious material for use as cofferdam fill, while maintaining the continuity of the dams water retaining elements and cutoff through the left abutment until the cofferdam was in place and they were redundant. Initially, excavation was allowed within two areas within the cofferdams interior, one upstream of the USACE dams existing 550 foot long sheet pile cut-off wall and one downstream of the cut-off wall. Until the cofferdams cut-off wall was complete, the excavation in these two areas was limited in depth and excavation was prohibited along the dams sheet pile cut-off. Once the cut-off wall was completed around the upstream side of the cofferdam, the USACE sheet pile wall could be removed and the powerhouse excavation could proceed across the entire area of the cofferdam. Concurrently, the installation of the dewatering wells and instrumentation was ongoing, the cofferdams marine dike was completed and the flood control structure was constructed. The entire cofferdam was completed to El. 405 by April 2010, and the dewatering system was activated and dewatering well pumping began. At that time, the mass excavation also began with eight CAT double pan scrapers pulled by Challenger MT tractors working two 10-hour shifts. The excavation was completed by June 15, 2010. The excavated material was spoiled on-site. Cofferdam interior excavation slopes were 2.5H: 1.0V except at the upstream and downstream sides where 6.0H: 1.0V slopes were excavated that will ultimately form the invert of the approach and tailrace channels. A 40 foot wide haul road was also incorporated into the downstream slope for access by the powerhouse and appurtenances contractor. CUT-OFF WALL PERFORMANCE The 20 dewatering wells drilled within the cofferdam pumped out infiltration through the cofferdams cement-bentonite cut-off wall and infiltration from the rock foundation. The wells were installed at or near the top of rock. The wells have the capacity to pump out 5,000 gpm. Dewatering of the interior of the cofferdam began on March 15, 2010 with the wells pumping 4,100 gpm. On April 8, 2010, the dewatering wells were pumping about 600 gpm and the groundwater table had reduced to Elev. 290 to 300. Currently the wells are pumping a total flow of 90 gpm and the piezometers are indicating El. 276 to 278 below the bottom of the powerhouse excavation. While some seepage may be making its way through bedrock and the cement-bentonite cut-off wall, these amounts are minimal. The results indicate that the cofferdams cut-off wall met and exceeded the design expectations. CONSTRUCTION ISSUES The project site previously served as a staging area during construction of the USACEs lock and dam, which was construction in 1965. The exploration program performed did not reveal the extent of material buried or left embedded at the site. During the cofferdam and excavation contract for the Cannelton Hydro electric project, sheet piling, concrete, pipes, and other buried debris was uncovered. These obstructions required two

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realignments of the cofferdams cut-off wall, pre-probing and removal of obstructions, which required the reallocation of resources intended for other work. The guide walls constructed to align the equipment for the cut-off wall sloughed into the slurry on a few occasions shortly after cut-off wall activities commenced. This was thought to have resulted from slurry levels not being maintained through the evening hours. In one instance, guide walls and adjacent sand sloughed in along a 20 feet length of the slurry trench. There was a concern that this may result in a sand window within the cut-off wall. Subsequently, a continuous sample drill rig was used to obtain samples of the panel where the settlement and slippage occurred. The drill was not able to stay within the slurry wall but a subsequent three dimensional probe did verify that the wall was intact for at least 75 feet before going outside the wall. As noted above, the wall has performed well with no areas of elevated piezometric levels or seepage. The cofferdam construction proceeded on schedule until January 25, 2009 when the Ohio River was in flood stage. The low area of the cofferdam construction along the riverside where it was at about El. 390 (15 feet below the design crest of El. 405.0) and the flood control structure had yet to be finished. The National Weather Service and USACE prediction indicating that the river would rise to El. 389 by January 29, 2009 with unknown fluctuations thereafter. After evaluation of the risk, KTC and MWH decided to construct a temporary 5-foot high clay dike at a reduced width along the riverside cofferdams low area to protect the cofferdam and prevent flooding of the cofferdams interior. This emergency dike was constructed in four days. Winter weather conditions and the schedule prevented drying of the clay, which was well above optimum moisture content. These constraints minimized the ability to compact this material. Ultimately, this temporary dike was only subject to about 1 foot of head and performed satisfactory. LESSONS LEARNED The following lessons were learned during the construction of the cofferdam: During the placement of the grouted rip rap for the emergency flood control structures spillway chute, the grout with -inch aggregate was used initially with small vibrators to get the grout completely around the large stone to the bottom of the filter fabric placed below the rip rap. Subsequently, inch aggregate was substituted because there was concern that the grout was not getting through to the bottom of the riprap. When it was imperative that the marine section of the clay dike continue during winter months when drying of the impervious fill could not be accomplished via spreading and disking, KTC chose to add fly ash to the impervious fill. A Stehr SBF 24/16 Soil Stabilizer mixed the fly ash into each spread lift of the clay prior to compaction. Standard Proctor tests were performed on the mixed material to provide a compaction curve for verification of compaction with field density tests. The design of the dewatering wells provided pumps that would remove up to 5,000 gpm. At the beginning of the dewatering, about 4,000 gpm was being

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pumped but within three weeks this reduced to about 500 gpm. Subsequently with the extremely lower (90 gpm) flows, it became necessary to operate fewer pumps and monitor very closely those pumps operating to assure that the pumps did not run out of water and seize the motors. The low infiltration rate from the marine cofferdam may be partially the result of the hydromill excavating into bedrock for some time before rock chips reached the desander through the hose that was several hundred feet long from the hydromill. Rock chips were used to identify when the hydromill was at the top of bedrock and the panel was complete. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The author would like to acknowledge AMP and their member municipalities for their initiative to develop this and other similar projects in the Ohio River valley and for their vision to undertake this work for renewable energy. I would also like to thank KTC and MRCE for their efforts including the dedication of resources, equipment and manpower to the project to complete the project on time in spite of several issues which affected the schedule. KTCs timely and successful installation of the cut-off wall was a big factor that allowed the project to reach completion on time and ready for the powerhouse construction contract. REFERENCES
Kiewit Traylor Constructors A Joint Venture, Final Specifications, June 24, 2010. Kiewit Traylor Constructors A Joint Venture, Final As-Built Drawings, July 6, 2010.

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