Deconstruction Begins


I hiked out to check on the timelapse cameras yesterday and snapped a few photos of crews chipping away at the dam.  Significant progress has already been made–in this photo you can see that the flow line from the dam to the powerhouse has been removed, the building that housed the flow controls is gone and a significant chunk of the concrete structure of the dam has been removed.  Stay tuned for updates as deconstruction continues!

17 thoughts on “Deconstruction Begins

    1. Well, there’s quite a bit of sediment down there, that’s for sure. It would be interesting to know how much more sediment there is down there now, compared to if there had never been a dam built. How much of what’s there is going to erode?

  1. Why not just leave it with the tunnel?
    Why deconstruct the whole huge concrete edifice?
    These breeched dams should be left for postarity to contemplate our foolishness.
    The water is flowing at grade.

    I am interested because my father was chief engineer on the Glines Canyon Dam on the Olympic Peninsula. That dam, as you know, is also being deconstructed. And so it begins.

    Walton McMillan
    Civil Engineer (structures)

    1. I can definitely see your point there, but I’m not sure leaving the dam in place for that purpose is entirely worth it. At that point it’s a liability and not an asset to anyone, so where’s the motivation to ensure it doesn’t become a major hazard? Who’s going to pay for the upkeep?

      Plus, if they keep the dam there, I won’t be able to kayak down that section of river!

    2. Can you imagine what might have happened if there was a dam, even with a large hole in it, in the path of the debri flow on the Toutle River after the eruption in 1980? I rather imagine that even in a year of mass snow pack melt-off that can sometimes happen when I pineapple express storm hits in the early spring, that dam could act as a place of a debris pile. On the railroad I worked for, our wooden bridges often acted to create a log jam that we had to rermove at great expense.
      Ever since my first trips up through the Columbia River Gorge as a teenager, I have always wondered what it would look like to have seen the rapids and cascades on the mighty Columbia when Lewis and Clark first came down the river. It is unlikely that these rivers will ever be completely restored to the original pristine beauty, Because of all the land moving that was done (see original construction of Condit Dam) during construction, however it will be more like the river the natives knew. I found an excellant web site that the company that owned this dam has that has details and many pictures of the original construction. If you really wnat to see what a remarkable feet it was, check it out. With all the information we can now get at the click of our mouse, it would be an insult to all the great folks who faught so hard to accomplish this removal so that this river could be brought back to it’s original condition, to leave this dam in place. There are far too many dams stil remaining to remind us of how we have changed our rivers.

  2. Show us some of the timelapse pictures!! Please!! Those of us working on other rivers where dam removal is being seriously considered (as I do on the Klamath) are very interested in how the river reasserts its morphology over time. Thank you for documenting this.

    1. Ahh, patience! It’s going to be way more fun to watch if there’s significant progress to fast forward through. I can’t wait to see a video clip either!

  3. Did they save *any* of the flowline for posterity? I’d hate to think it’s gone forever when there are a number of nearby museums that could have had a part of it.

    Glad my 10 year old daughter and I got to take a few pictures of it last August…

    1. I can’t say for sure. I didn’t notice that it was gone until I was way up on the hillside.

      That said, I doubt that they will leave anything behind–their goal is to put the landscape back as close to the way they found it.

    2. The flowline is gone. The wood is, too. PP&L is designing a display at Northwestern Park and has invited the participation of local museums.

      Truely an amazing project. Thank you so much for documenting it!

      1. I’m old and will never get to that part of the country.
        I hope someone takes lots of pics of the museum as it is being constructed and the finish product.

      2. The pictures being talked about are pretty easily accesible on the web site for the company that owns the dam. It’s a pretty good sized download and very intersting. I’ll look that up and try to post a link for eveyone.

    1. Sounds like the deconstruction activities happening now on Condit are to facilitate access to the coffer dam site. So, it’s still in place. That’s a really tricky spot to access right now, so it’s taking time.

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