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September 22, 2008

Cost estimate for Ragged Mountain Dam construction increases to $70 million; RWSA seeks second opinion

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The ground slated to serve as the foundation for the future Ragged Mountain Dam consists of fractured bedrock, which means consultant Gannett & Fleming has raised their cost estimate to approximately $70 million. The news was announced at a special media briefing given on September 22, 2008, by the four chairs of the governing bodies with jurisdiction over the area’s water and sewer infrastructure.
Further information will be available at the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority’s Board of Directors meeting later this afternoon. 

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The new information comes after a geophysical survey of the area discovered fractures. Gannett Fleming engineers have suggested building a dam with a larger underground foundation along with core side walls. Tom Frederick, Executive Director of the RWSA, said that he sought a second opinion after getting the revised cost estimate

“This is substantially larger than the $37 million that they reported to us during the conceptual phase,” Frederick said. Schnabel Engineering of Glen Allen, Virginia, was asked to look at the same information, and have suggested they can do the work for around $57 million, even with the discovery of weathered and fractured rock. However, both Schnabel and Gannett Fleming are requesting additional  information on the geology involved. Schnabel is suggesting ways to mitigate the fracturing.

Frederick suggested that the RWSA convene an independent panel of dam experts to determine how to proceed with the two estimates. The RWSA Board of Directors will discuss the issue at its meeting this afternoon.


  • 1:00 - Introduction by Mike Gaffney, RWSA Chair
  • 2:20 - Summary of Community Water Supply plan to date
  • 5:00 - Discussion of the discovery of fractured rock at the location
  • 10:00 - Questions from the media

Sean Tubbs


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