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Repair of Salina Levee System

Salina Levee System

Location: Salina, KS

Client: USACE Kansas City

EMR provided civil construction services for the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Kansas City District including: placement of a protective rip rap blanket on the west bank of the Smoky Hill River to prevent erosion of the river bank, construction of two shore abutments, and construction of a 140-foot sill wall to create a structure that would hold back the waters of the river at a specified elevation creating a pool in which the City of Salina could ensure adequate water intake for their municipal water supply.


Fieldwork began with clearing and grubbing of trees and other vegetation from work areas, and stripping and stockpiling topsoil. Construction of the sill wall began with the installation of an Aqua Dam inflatable coffer dam system in the western half of the river channel. The Aqua Dam system consisted of an inflatable bladder that formed a wall in the river channel that was used for diversion of the river and the dewatering of the work area within the riverbed. EMR constructed the sill wall system in four phases, proceeding from west to east, including: the west abutment, the 70-foot long west sill wall section, the east abutment, and the 70-foot long east sill wall section.


Once the west half of the construction was completed, the Aqua Dam system was disassembled and reassembled for the construction of the east abutment and the 70-foot long east sill wall section. The abutment and wall structures were constructed by excavating a trench within the riverbed that would be used as a form for approximately three-quarters of the height of the abutment or sill wall section. The balance of the structure was formed with wood anchored to the riverbed. A steel reinforcement cage was placed into the formwork and secured into place using spacers and ties. In order to construct the sill wall and abutment structures, Portland cement was placed into the forms using a concrete pump truck via a hose and tremie pipe system. Concrete test samples were collected during each concrete placement event and slump tested in the field. Samples were also tested by an USACE-approved local materials testing firm for air content, unit weight and compressive strength, to assure the quality of the concrete being used in the structure. Once the concrete work was completed, 2,000 tons of R200 riprap was placed around the abutments as added protection from river scour. The native grasses were restored by replacement of topsoil, seeding and straw mulching of the areas that were disturbed during construction. 

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