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Massive steel dam gates replaced in southern Utah

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Posted at 9:09 PM, Jan 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-09 23:09:40-05

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Water Conservancy District completed the replacement of two 25-ton steel gates today at its primary diversion dam.

The new gates are expected to last another century.

The Quail Creek diversion dam on the Virgin River collects about 100-cubic feet of water per second, so the WCWCD said it’s imperative it works properly. So when the steel on the old gates started to flake, they invested $1 million to replace the gates, but the new 20 by 40 foot gates will last another hundred years.

“We could have welded and repaired the structure in place,” said WCWCD associate general manager Corey Cram. “But we found for the same amount of money we could replace it.”

Time was of the essence during a project like this because, while they’re repairing the gates, they can’t collect that water. It was originally scheduled to take about a week, but they ran into a problem, one of those gates was much larger than they originally thought.”

“We had to rent, initially, the biggest crane in Southern Utah,” Cram said. “But we found it was inadequate to move the structure, so we had to bring a 350-ton crane down here from Salt Lake City.”

Even though they lost about two weeks of water collection, Cram said it’s the perfect time for those type of replacements. In the spring, summer and fall months, there’s a commitment to deliver water to other local jurisdictions.

A time-lapse of the replacement can be seen below.