Spillway crisis cost estimate now $870 milliion

The costs related to the Oroville Dam Spillway incident keep rising.

Posted: Jan. 26, 2018 5:37 PM
Updated: Feb. 9, 2018 10:28 AM

The costs related to the Oroville Dam Spillway incident keep rising.

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On Friday, the Department of Water Resources estimated the new total to be about $870 million, up from last fall’s estimate of around $650 million.

Earlier this month, crews finished replacing the emergency spillway crest wall. The underground secant pile wall that's being built up to 65 feet into bedrock is scheduled to be completed sometime in March. They are also preparing a roller compacted concrete splash-pad.

“The RCC Splash-pad, in conjunction with the secant pile wall, will armor the existing terrain, reducing the type of uphill erosion that occurred last February if the emergency spillway were ever to be used again,” said DWR Assistant Deputy Director Ted Craddock.

Crews will also put in an RCC buttress at the base, and that will begin later this year.

As far at as the primary spillway, phase 2 is expected to start in May if the weather allows, and the original 730 feet leading up to the radial gates will be removed and replaced with structural concrete.

They will also install a 2.5 foot layer of structural concrete over the roller compacted concrete in the middle of the main chute. The current RCC walls will be removed and replaced with structural concrete.

Of the 234 structural concrete slabs placed last year, three did not cure properly and may have to be fixed later this year.

And then there's the cost, which is now estimated to be about $870 million.

Last fall's estimate was about $650 million, but that didn't include the about $210 million of related recovery work on top of the Kiewit contract.

$500 million is for the work on both spillways through the contract with Kiewit. $210 million is for related recovery work which includes debris and sediment removal, powerline replacement, creation of access roads, staff time, and technical consultants. $160 million is for the emergency response, which ended last May.

The department hopes FEMA will cover 75% of that $870 million, and anything that doesn't get reimbursed will be billed to the state water project contractors.

So far FEMA has approved a reimbursement of almost $87 million out of the about $116 million submitted by the DWR.

The costs so far do not include the more than $1 billion in legal claims filed by property owners downstream.

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