Ameren begins anchor installation process at Missouri’s Bagnell Dam

An 18-month long upgrade of Ameren Missouri’s Bagnell Dam is now under way as crews have begun using pressure washers to clean the structure’s western section.

Once clean, Ameren will perform the work in three stages — first installing 68 new post-tension anchors into the dam’s underlying bedrock, then placing concrete between piers that support a highway that runs over the dam, and finally, installing a new concrete overlay to replace worn areas in the dam’s eastern and western sections. In all, the utility said it expects to pour more than 66 million pounds of concrete.

“This is the largest, most visible project we’ve done at the dam in more than 30 years,” said Warren Witt, director of hydro operations at Ameren Missouri.

The $52 million project is not expected to hamper residential or recreational access to the Lake of the Ozarks, nor operations at the 242.59-MW Osage hydroelectric plant that is associated with Bagnell. Lake levels are expected to remain the same through the summer.

“We scheduled all the work for weekdays, during daylight hours,” said Phil Thompson, manager of operations at Bagnell. “Having grown up in this area, the dam and the Lake of the Ozarks have been important to me both professionally and recreationally. The dam is 87 years old and the work we are doing will help ensure it is here for all of us to enjoy for years to come.”

The dam’s most recent major structural updates came in the early 1980s, when 277 post-tension anchors were installed. The structure itself is a 2,543 feet long and 148 feet tall.

“Those post-tension anchors were the best technology at the time,” Witt said. “They have performed very well since they’ve been installed, and the dam remains structurally sound.”

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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