Geotechnical Exploration—Rio Bravo Hydro Project

by Bert Andrew Brown, Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade &, Douglas Inc, Sacramento, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Power '87


In order for the Rio Bravo Hydroelectric Project to become a reality, a thorough evaluation of alternative project configurations was necessary. Various power canal shapes, sizes, and alignments were considered. Several powerhouse locations and installed capacities were also analyzed. However, the overriding factor in developing an economically feasible project centered around the diversion dam and subsurface foundation considerations. Borings and geophysical investigations upstream yielded a location where a damsite configuration could be constructed which resulted in an overall feasible hydroelectric project. A detailed electromagnetic (EM) survey was then conducted 100 feet (30 m. ) upstream and downstream of the borings where the apparent ridge of bedrock (siltstone) near the surface crossed the river channel. The final axis of the dam was located based on the EM survey results. Aspects of the geotechnical program at the damsite as well as an overview of the entire turnkey project will be presented in this paper.

Subject Headings: Rivers and streams | Geotechnical engineering | Economic factors | Geomatic surveys | Foundation construction | Dam foundations | Hydro power | Gravity dams

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