A MIGHTY buttress wall to strengthen the Hume Dam is creeping up the Victorian embankment in a $33 million project.
At the same time, the Hume Dam’s water level is going down slowly to meet irrigation demands.
It is now roughly at the same full supply level of the original dam opened in 1936 – or about 58 per cent of the present
The latest wall project will add 50,000 tonnes of concrete to the structure at the point where NSW meets Victoria on the left bank of the Murray River.
NSW State Water’s construction manager at the site, Mark Pearson, is pleased with the progress.
A few exceptionally hot days with the mercury topping 35 degrees have delayed work.
But he has been pleased the project hasn’t been plagued by wet weather or storms.
“We are about halfway through project, and are on track to finish this year,” Mr Pearson said yesterday.
McConnell Dowell Constructors are the main contractors and, usually, 15 to 20 tradesmen are working on site, depending on weather.
Other contractors, mostly local, include Hanson’s concrete-batching team and Inform Constructions, whose cranes are placing the concrete supplied by Holcim from the Lincoln Causeway site.
The team will raise the buttress wall 33 metres above the normal river level.
Last year, foundations were sunk into bedrock, 16 metres below the river level after a coffer dam was built to divert the river.
The Murray Darling Basin Authority is funding the work to improve the dam’s capacity to withstand extreme floods and earthquakes and bring it in line with best practice.
The work represents stage two of a $60 million dam safety program, a $11 million job to improve filtering and drainage systems having been completed in 2011.
A third stage to further improve flood safety at the dam will take place in 2014 and 2015.
The Hume Dam was last upgraded in an $80 million program from 1996 to 2004.