'We're getting close to the bottom': Blast at Glines Canyon Dam expected today
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National Park Service
Very little of the formerly 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam remains in this Saturday webcam photo as crews set explosives, center. For a real-time view (during daylight hours), click on the Elwha River webcams link above the "Top of the News" red bar on the home page.

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK –– Another chunk of Glines Canyon Dam will be blown away sometime today as work on Elwha River dam removals nears an end.

Olympic National Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said Saturday that crews had drilled 35-foot-deep holes in the concrete over the past week that have been stuffed with explosives to blow out one of the few remaining sections of the once-210-foot-tall dam.

“We're really getting down very close to the bottom now,” Maynes said.

She did not know the width of the section on the far east side of the 87-year-old dam that will be removed today.

Today's blast will take out much of the remaining dam but not all of it, according to Maynes.

Maynes said crews with Barnard Construction, the Bozeman, Mont., firm contracted to blast away the dam, were scheduled to blast this portion of the dam Saturday but were unable to prepare for the explosion earlier in the week because of high winds.

Drill broke

They also were set back by cold temperatures that led to a portion of the drill breaking, Maynes said.

Removal of Elwha Dam 8 miles downstream from Glines Canyon Dam was completed in March 2012.

Blasting on Glines Canyon Dam resumed in January after shutting down in November to accommodate fish migration.

Demolition crews set off about 2,000 pounds of explosives packed into a concrete stub of the dam Jan. 26, reducing it from a height of about 55 feet to about 35 feet.

The next fish window will begin in May.

Glines Canyon Dam is being removed via controlled explosions as part of the largest river restoration project in U.S. history, a $325 million effort to restore 70 miles of the river to salmon and steelhead runs that were cut off by the early 1900s construction of Glines Canyon Dam and the 108-foot-tall Elwha Dam.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 08. 2014 5:57PM
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