The Ohio River has more tonnage passing through than any other US inland waterway, and the original Olmsted Locks and Dams had well exceeded their design life.
Glosten Takes on the Challenge
The US Army Corps of Engineers decided to use a method of building “in the wet” where segments of the dam (shells) are constructed on land, moved to the water, lifted by barge, and set in the river within a fraction of an inch tolerance. This design was chosen to minimize impacts to river traffic and the environment. Washington Group / Alberici (WGA) enlisted Glosten to design a vessel to lift the dam shell segments into place.
Unique Vessels for Unique Problems
Glosten worked closely with WGA to design three unique barges essential for dam construction. The innovative catamaran barge is comprised of 2 barge hulls (200 ft x 90 x 15 ft ea.) connected by six towers with 15 crossbeams and is used to lift, transport and set the shell segments. Up to 12 strand jacks are supported by gantry beams that run perpendicular to the cross beams, and have a 4,850-ton lift capacity. To ensure the catamaran barge structure could withstand the loads associated with lifting the shells, Glosten performed extensive finite element analysis. To help prepare the bottom for shell sets, Glosten designed an excavator barge. Glosten also designed a crane barge to support a 60-foot ringer crane with a 660-ton capacity.
The Nation’s Largest Civil Works Project
Glosten provided technical support to WGA through every lift. The Olmsted Locks and Dam – the nation’s largest civil works project in history – opened in August of 2018. This innovative navigation project replaced two upstream dams constructed in the 1920s, and is estimated to produce an annual economic benefit of more than $700 million.
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