Willard Dam - Behavior of a Compressible Foundation

by Fred C. Walker,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1967, Vol. 93, Issue 4, Pg. 177-198

Document Type: Journal Paper


Willard Dam, a 14.5-mile-long, 36-ft-high embankment was constructed on an arm of the Great Salt Lake. The foundation consists of an interfingering of the deltaic deposits from the Weber-Ogden river system and Bear river with lakebed sediments several hundred feet thick. This foundation material is highly compressible, low strength, and variably impermeable. The silt or clay has a borderline classification between organic and inorganic and low and high compressibilty. The paper describes the highlights of 14 yr of investigation, testing, design and construction that went into creation of a structure that by normal soil mechanics practices could not be built. Its behavior during construction and since completion, based on a extensive installation of behavior measuring apparatus has disclosed performance that has not previously been observed. This should be taken into consideration where construction for similar foundation conditions is contemplated.

Subject Headings: Dam foundations | Soil classification | Soil compression | Embankment dams | River systems | Compressive strength | Clays | Foundation construction

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