GEORGE NEWS - Contractors for the raising of the Garden Route Dam spillway are expected to go on site next Monday, 13 May, at which time the site and an extended surrounding area will be closed to the public for safety reasons.
Heavy vehicles on plantation roads and major excavations at the dam wall and above the dam, as well as clearing of alien vegetation right around the dam, will mean the presence of dangerous equipment. Falling trees and wildlife disturbed by the temporary commotion could also pose a risk.
George municipal manager Trevor Botha made an urgent appeal to all outdoor enthusiasts to stay clear of all plantation and forest terrain, tracks and roads south of the train tracks above the dam.
"The work site is much larger than just directly adjacent to the dam. While it may be inconvenient for regular visitors to find alternative outdoor space for a while, the long-term benefits of a higher dam wall and fewer invasive species in their natural playground will reap its own rewards. Please do not be tempted to ignore signage if it looks like the site is not active. A lot will be happening in areas that may not be obvious and visible, and areas where work is underway may be unstable and should not be entered just because workers or equipment do not seem to be around."
He especially appealed to cyclists to not take any chances. Heavy vehicles will be using almost all the plantation and forest roads that cyclists frequent. The area is always considered a high risk site, 24 hours, seven days a week.
Lowering dam level
Before the project can start, the level of the dam must be reduced from its current 89% to at least 80% to enable the contractors to access the currently submerged construction area. Weather depending, the water will be released sometime in the next week via two scour valves and the water will flow out into the Kaaimans River over a period of about three to six days. This will not hold danger for property owners and activities downstream.
Water to be released
"While it is not ideal to lose water at any stage, the safety of the people working below the dam is essential and for the integrity of the project as a whole, we have accepted that some water run-off is necessary. We had hoped to create a buffer or holding dam, but the scope of the project does not allow for it. The municipality will monitor and manage the dam level closely during the project time period and will address any supply issues in advance should it become necessary," said Botha.
Heavy vehicles will be delivering materials to the site, which will have an impact on Knysna Road, Madiba Drive, Mission Road and Industrial Road. Heavy vehicle activity will also take place on the public roads directly adjacent to the site, including the Meyer Street entrance to the dam and Madiba Drive between Meyer and a plantation access road in Madiba (about halfway between Meyer and Nelson Mandela University campus). Road users are requested to take extreme care.
10 months of construction
Once completed, the dam's full supply level will effectively be raised by 2,5 metres, which will increase the total storage capacity of the dam by about 25%.
The construction activity period is expected to be 10 months. If possible, the area will be made accessible during the 2019/20 December-January holiday period, but this will depend entirely on the safety of the site and the progress made.
A professional dam engineer registered with the department of water and sanitation (DWS) for a category III dam will oversee the construction works. All designs for the works have been approved by the DWS's dam safety office.
Project queries must be directed to 044 801 9262.
Read previous articles:
- Garden Route spillway update
- Latest update: Dam spillway
- Verhoging van damwal op koers
- Projected start of dam wall project: March 2019
- Raising of spillway could be 'months' away
- High hopes for new tender specs
- Garden Route Dam contractor withdraws tender
- Dam overflows, 'but please keep saving'
- Garden Route dam overflows
- Spotlight on Eden water challenges
- Raising of dam wall and spillway update
- Raising of Garden Route Dam spillway
- Update on Garden Route Dam capacity increase
- Have your say: Dam's spillway amendment
- Garden Route Dam spillway to be raised
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