2002 – Restoration of Storage Capacity at Lyell Dam Using Hydroplus Fusegates and Construction Stages

Bill Hakin, Phillip Solomon, Peter Siers Bruce Goddard

Lyell Dam is located on the Coxs River near Lithgow NSW Australia. It was constructed in 1982 to supply cooling water to Delta Electricity’s Mt. Piper and Wallerawang power stations.

In 1994 the storage capacity of the dam was increased by 7,500 Ml by raising the embankment height and installing two 3.5m high inflatable rubber dams on an enlarged and slightly raised spillway sill. Two significant failures of the rubber dams in 1997 and 1999, led the dam owner to seek an alternative method of maintaining the increased Full Supply Level (FSL) whilst still providing spillway capacity for the design flood. Although the lost storage has a certain strategic value to Delta Electricity, the main reason for restoring the capacity to its former level was to preserve the environmental and recreational use of the reservoir for the local community.

Following a detailed review of options, Delta Electricity chose to regain the former FSL with the Hydroplus Fusegate System. Because of the freeboard available at Lyell dam it was possible to design the Fusegates such that none tip before the 20 000 AEP flood.

In order to derive accurate as-built levels and dimensions of the existing spillway, new laser scanning methods were utilised to create a digital 3-D model of its complex shape.
The water retaining concrete Fusegates were poured in-situ and designed without anti-crack reinforcement. This innovation was only possible by use of a special design mix and careful temperature control/monitoring during concrete placing.

This is the first installation of the Hydroplus Fusegate System in Australia. The paper examines the philosophy of approach and various unique methods used in the application of the System during the design and construction stages.

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