We’re a general contractor with specialities in water-related projects like cofferdams and water diversion, fish ladders, emergency services, wastewater treatment, and power-plant projects. We take on difficult projects that require a high level of skill and experience and that need to be done very quickly and well. We’re willing to take risks, and that means there’s a good chance we’ll get the job. That’s the kind of reputation we have. We do whatever it takes to get the job done on time, regardless of conditions—and even if we have to work all night.
Over the past 15–20 years, we have worked on many capital-improvement projects for PacifiCorp. So when they sent out a request for a proposal for the Lemolo II project, we submitted a bid and they chose us. Not only do we have a good relationship with them, but we also offered a competitive price and the kind of experience they were looking for.
We began the project in February 2011 and finished in October. Basically, our job as general contractor consisted of collecting discharged water from the Lemolo II hydroelectric power plant, running it through a concrete pipeline, and discharging it into Toketee Lake. Generally speaking, [PacifiCorp] was concerned about the potential environmental impact of the discharge; specifically, there was concern that fish might swim into the power plant area rather than continuing upriver. With hydropower plants, the water you take upstream rejoins at some point with the water downstream,and then empties into the lake or reservoir, and then on to a river. Our job was to divert the river with a cofferdam system and then build an intake structure for the pipeline out of concrete that allows the water to be controlled.
“We’re willing to take risks, and that means there’s a good chance we’ll get the job. That’s the kind of reputation we have.”
Andrew weekly, project manager
There’s a lot of work involved in this kind of project and a lot of equipment like bulldozers, generators, offload haul trucks, large dump trucks, vibratory rollers, hand tools, and power tools. The pipeline runs for about 3,500 feet and is eight to nine feet in diameter; you can drive a four-wheeler right through it. We had to trench 20 feet down with large excavators and install the pipeline in pieces—about 300 12-foot pieces in all—with steel-picking devices. We also had to build several structures and risers and access manholes along the way.
One of the biggest considerations was the project’s potential impact on the environment. The pipeline runs through a grassy area, a forested area, then a [US] Forest Service campground, so we kept our digging confined to only the necessary space, and we kept our dirt piles close together, covered with tarps, to stop erosion. We also dug the trench and backfilled at the same time to minimize the impact. As we would open space in the front, we’d be closing it in the back; we only had it open long enough to put a piece of pipe in.
Pollution control was another important consideration. We had to make sure the diverted water stayed clean and that nothing leaked into it. That’s why our equipment is always checked, maintained, and up to standard. We absolutely can’t have equipment that leaks or doesn’t work properly. Once the project was finished, we restored the landscape with trees and rocks, spread grass seed, and repaved the campground. Now you’d never know the pipeline is there. ABQ