Explosion set for one of Elwha dams today
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Barnard Construction crew members plan to set explosives at Glines Canyon Dam today. The dam is pictured in a shot from the Olympic National Park’s webcam available via www.peninsuladailynews.com. -- Photo by Olympic National Park

By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — After nearly four months of chiseling away at Glines Canyon Dam, Barnard Construction is about to try a more explosive method of taking it down.

Charges are scheduled to be set today on the east side of the dam, which cannot be reached by the company's hydraulic hammer.

“Basically, we can't get the barge over into that corner,” said Brian Krohmer, project manager.

Barnard, contracted by Olympic National Park to remove the Glines Canyon and Elwha dams on the Elwha River, drilled holes for the explosives last week.

Crews used a “man basket” to lower themselves to that section of the dam, Krohmer said.

Additional explosives may be set later this week, he said.

Work on both dams began in September as part of a $325 million federal project to restore the river's ecosystem and salmon runs.

Krohmer estimated dam removal is nearing the halfway mark but added, “We have a long way to go.”

Progress may slow as the dams are lowered since they are wider at their base.

Fifty-six feet of the Elwha Dam, which was 108 feet tall, has been removed.

The only portions of the dam remaining are along the two former spillways, now used as interchanging river channels.

The dam is scheduled to be fully removed in early 2013.

Thirty-six feet of the larger Glines Canyon Dam, which was 210 feet tall, has been removed.

Demolition of that dam is scheduled to be finished around early 2014.

Work is limited during fish migratory periods, which last about two months at a time and take up between five to six months of the year.

Krohmer said demolition has not been affected by last week's snowfall, and heavy rains projected through this week should also not be a problem.

“We had to just plow the roads,” he said.

“That's about it.

“Just as with any weather event, we keep a close eye on river flow forecasts,” he added.

“As of right now, we're not anticipating there to be a flooding concern.”

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Reporter Tom Callis can be reached at 360-417-3532 or at tom.callis@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 21. 2012 9:31PM
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