The first major step in an 18-month, $52 million investment by Ameren Missouri to improve Bagnell Dam began this week.
"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 goal is to keep Bagnell Dam and the Osage Energy Center in top shape for decades to come."
Right now, strong blasts of water are scrubbing timeworn concrete from the surface of the west section of the dam. After the cleaning, a series of diagonal holes will be drilled into the dam. Anchors installed in those holes, along with more than 66 million pounds of newly poured concrete, will help secure the dam to the bedrock. The plan has been reviewed and certified by independent engineers as well as the federal government.
The last major structural update at Bagnell Dam was completed in the early 1980s. At the time, 277 post-tensioned anchors were installed to secure the dam.
"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."
Over the past 10 years, Ameren Missouri has been a world-wide leader in developing best practices and spearheading initiatives to inspect the integrity of post-tension anchors, which Ameren Missouri engineers will now implement as part of this project. As a result of Ameren Missouri's innovative work, steps have been taken in several countries, including as far away as Australia, to enhance dam safety.
To avoid inconveniencing lake-area residents and vacationers, Ameren Missouri doesn't anticipate extended road closures this summer.
"We scheduled all of the work for weekdays, during daylight hours," said Phil Thompson, manager of operations at Bagnell Dam. "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.”
Work will go by section, with most of this year's activity taking place on the west side of the dam. Summer lake levels are planned to be the same as 2016.
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.