Winds Hamper Forensic Drilling On Wanapum Dam

Apr 1, 2014

High winds on the Columbia River are hampering forensic work on the damaged Wanapum Dam in southeast Washington.

Crews are trying to figure out how bad the crack in Wanapum Dam is and how it can be repaired.
Credit Grant County PUD

Workers first noticed a giant crack in the structure more than a month ago. Investigators are trying to figure out just how bad it is and how to fix it.

It’s a bit like a person with a cracked molar. In this case, concrete "doctors" are trying to figure out why the crack happened so they can prescribe a treatment plan. But getting to the root cause is not easy.

Crews have to construct a platform on the dam. This is so workers and their equipment can access the damaged part. The goal is to drill holes in the structure to determine the geometry of the crack.

But it’s been slow going. Any time wind gusts reach over 35 miles an hour, cranes and boats have to pull back.

Grant County officials hope to complete this investigative work in the next month. Then they can come up with a plan on how to fix it.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network.