Knight Piésold confirmed as Lead Designer for Kiewit on Klamath River Dam Removal

24 May 2019

Knight Piésold has announced it is to act as lead designer for Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. (Kiewit) on the recently awarded dam removal design-build contract for the Klamath River Renewal Project. 

The Kiewit team, which also includes Resource Environmental Solutions as the lead for restoration design and construction, is working with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) to create a free-flowing Klamath River.

The largest dam removal and river restoration project in US history, it involves the removal of the J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2, and Iron Gate dams. The four dams, located along Klamath River in southern Oregon and northern California, impound water for hydroelectric facilities with a combined capacity of 163MW. The facilities include earthfill embankment and concrete gravity dams; a variety of intake, gate, and spillway types; a variety of water conveyance schemes including pipelines, tunnels, canals, and woodstave and steel penstocks; and powerhouses containing Francis-type turbines.

KRRC aims to remove these dams in a bid to restore volitional fish passage up and down the Klamath River, restore formerly inundated lands and channels, and implement required mitigation measures in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations. “Once implemented, the project will help restore the vitality of the Klamath River so that it can support all communities in the basin,” said Mark Bransom, chief executive officer, KRRC.

KRRC, with Aecom of Oakland, California as technical representative, is using a progressive design-build delivery model, which allows for early collaboration and problem solving with the Kiewit team, to complete project design and execution in two phases. The initial preliminary services phase involves detailed design, permitting support, constructability and planning, reservoir drawdown preparation, and guaranteed maximum price development. The project implementation phase follows through on the plan and executes the removals and restoration. Pre-drawdown work involves dam modifications for reservoir drawdown, road and bridge access improvements for construction vehicle traffic, and bridge and culvert developments for new river and creek geometry.

“This project has many similarities to other complex water and hydroelectric projects we’ve delivered across North America,” said Jamie Wisenbaker, senior vice president, Kiewit. “We fully understand the breadth and importance of this undertaking and are excited and committed to safely delivering a high-quality project that meets the expectations of KRRC, the community and all key stakeholders in the region.”

“For those of us who dedicated our careers to designing and building dams, removing four dams on the Klamath River definitely requires a new paradigm,” said Paul Ridlen, president, Knight Piésold USA. “Knight Piésold is incredibly proud and excited to lead the design effort and to continue our successful history supporting Kiewit in hydropower and other heavy civil design-build projects.”

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