B&N Dam Rehabilitation Project Receives Top Award from ACEC Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – The design of a dam rehabilitation project earned Burgess & Niple (B&N) the top award in the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Indiana Engineering Excellence Awards competition.

On March 6, the Grand Project Award was presented to B&N for the Broad Ripple Dam Rehabilitation Project during the 2014 Engineering Excellence Awards banquet. The project was selected as the Grand Project Award recipient from a field of 23 total entries submitted from across the state.

The Broad Ripple Dam project revitalized, updated and repaired an aging timber crib dam, located in Indianapolis, that was originally built in 1836 and upgraded to concrete in 1920.

After being told the dam should be replaced at an estimated cost of more than $10 million, the client – Citizens Energy Group – asked B&N to provide a second opinion. B&N analyzed the existing conditions, identified and designed a plan to modify and restore the existing dam. The rehabilitation saved an estimated $9 million in project costs.

The safety of the dam was improved by adding concrete roller breakers or energy dissipaters on the downstream side to eliminate the deadly hydraulic undertow usually created by low-head dams. The project also included repairs to stone abutment walls.

The dam is used to maintain water supply to one of the primary water treatment plants for the City of Indianapolis. Improving the dam allowed for continued use of the water pool for public recreation on the White River, and enhanced safety for canoeing and kayaking.

The dam has been an integral part of the Broad Ripple area for more than 175 years. By rehabilitating the dam rather than replacing it, the community of Broad Ripple was able to retain a part of their heritage and the scenic beauty of limestone dam abutments.

The Engineering Excellence Awards competition is sponsored annually by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Indiana. Projects entered in the competition are judged on the basis of technical innovation, social and economic value and other factors.