By Preston Chasteen
Tulsa OK, – The Canton Lake Dam Safety Project is a multiphase project focused on resolving hydrologic, seepage and seismic deficiencies at Canton Dam, and is the second largest civil works project ever undertaken by the Tulsa District.
Canton Lake is located on the North Canadian River about two miles north of Canton, Oklahoma, and about 90 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and serves as a primary back up water supply for nearly 1.2 million people in the OKC area.
The 15,140-foot-long dam peaks at a maximum height of 68 feet above the streambed with a gated, concrete spillway spanning 720-feet. State Highway 58-A extends across the embankment and spillway.
The spillway is a gate-controlled, concrete, gravity, chute located in the right abutment. Spillway discharges are controlled by 16, 40- by 25-foot tainter gates. The outlet works consist of two 7- by 12-foot sluices which pass through the spillway.
Canton’s auxiliary spillway is currently being constructed. Once construction is complete, the channel to the newly installed nine fuse gates will be 480 feet wide and just over 0.6 mile in length. Each fuse gate will measure 53 feet in length, 21 feet in width, and a height of 32 feet.
At the time of design, the Canton fuse gates were the largest gates of this type in the United States.
Phase I of the project was completed in January 2011, and comprised the construction of the diaphragm and cutoff walls, as well as a new toe drain for better collection of seepage that passes through the dam. In addition, excavation of 1.6 million cubic yards of material was moved to the downstream slope of the existing embankment to create the disposal berm.
Phase II is currently underway with efforts to excavate the remaining 1.1 million cubic yards of material to complete the raising of the disposal berm, reconfigure the boat ramp area, and complete vertical wall construction.
Waste material from the new auxiliary spillway channel is being used to raise the elevation of the disposal berm at the toe of the existing dam. The new berm will extend the seepage path beneath the dam and the new toe drain will collect more seepage than the original toe drain. The combination of the newly raised berm and the new toe drain will better control seepage and improve the safety of the dam.
Each fuse gate will contain a water inlet, ballast and drain hole. Fuse gate operation will allow for moderate floods to spill over the fuse gate. As the flood increases, the water begins spilling over the well lips and the drain hole cannot discharge all the pressure. Larger floods will fill the chamber, which forces the pressure to build up on the underside and causes the fuse gate to overturn.
Phase II of the project is scheduled to be complete in summer of 2016.
Canton Lake provides flood control, water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat.
Congress authorized the Canton Lake project in 1938 for flood control. This project was started in 1940 but World War II temporarily halted construction. After the war, the Corps of Engineers resumed work, and the project was completed in late 1948
and formally dedicated in May 1949.