Quick Response on the Mississippi

by Douglas W. Barr, (M.ASCE), Senior Vice Pres.; Barr Engineering,
Kerry L. Heuer, Technical Writer; Barr Engineering,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 9, Pg. 50-52

Document Type: Feature article


In November 1987, the Mississippi River broke through the foundation of the St. Anthony Fall's Lower Dam Hydropower Plant. The plant's owner, the Northern State Power Co., faced a maze of problems. The plant collapsed, hydropower stopped, the upstream pool dropped 15 ft. and river traffic stopped. With impending winter and the river about to freeze, several barges could be trapped until spring. NSP had only a few days to resolve the crisis. Within 30 hours the undermining flow was diverted from the plant. Within a week, a stable earth dam was built. Although it was built in a week, the dam has a five-year permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Subject Headings: Mississippi | United States

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