Crane Assists in Dam Repair

Fri January 05, 2007 - Southeast Edition

For two days, a Grove 20-ton crane sat atop the Bull Shoals Dam in northern Arkansas to help get its generators running at full capacity.

It was called in to lift two new 5,000 lb. 80-ft. chains into place that control a headgate — a door that slides closed, thus shutting off the water, when crews need to access the dam’s generators.

The 55-year-old chain, which looks like it should be on a giant bicycle, fell off Feb. 14 during routine maintenance at the dam. It was fished out of Bull Shoals Lake in May with the assistance of the crane and U.S. Army divers from Fort Eustis, Va., said Tracy Fancher, operations manager.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crane from the Russellville Marine Terminal, which provided all of the crane and rigging services in the effort, was stationed on top of the dam on State Highway 178, causing a 15- to 20-mi. detour from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 12 and 13.

Since the chain first fell off, one of the dam’s eight generators has remained off-line. This year did not see a whole lot of high water periods, so Fancher said this generator likely would not have been used every day.

Each chain costs $150,000, but is expected to last nearly 75 years. CEG Staff