Ralston Dam Spillway Stability Over Pierre Shale

Inci, Gokhan
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2007
Stability problems with dam spillways on existing landslides and appropriate mitigation measures to remedy them are ongoing concerns for geotechnical engineers. The first successful application of drilled piers as stabilizing structures under the spillway was at the Trinity Dam in Sicily, Italy. ?Underpinning? was considered as an alternative to spillway relocation during the Alpaslan 2 embankment dam design in eastern Turkey. Based on the available literature the first application of drilled piers to stabilize a spillway chute in the U.S. was at the Ralston Dam in Colorado. Ralston Dam, which is a 175-foot-high zoned fill dam located 15 miles northwest of downtown Denver, was built in the late 1930s. The concrete spillway for the dam was built on the Pierre Shale Formation in the left abutment. Since reservoir operations began, mass movements have occurred downstream of the chute area. These movements have required periodic spillway maintenance. After the occurrence of recent movements and because of high piezometeric levels, URS was contracted by Denver Water to develop a more permanent solution by the installation and monitoring of additional instrumentation, analysis of slope stabilizing measures, design, repair, and reconstruction of the distressed section of the spillway chute. With state of the art modifications that include: 1) a stabilizing berm with a toe trench that improves the global stability; 2) seepage prevention and control measures that prevent the infiltration of water; and 3) the structural support of the replaced chute section with drilled piers and reinforced concrete the probability of future displacements or other problems have been reduced for the Ralston Dam Spillway.
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