2016 – Kangaroo Creek Dam Embankment Raising and Stabilisation – Balancing Competing Objectives

Peter Buchanan, Malcolm Barker, Paul Maisano, Marius Jonker

Kangaroo Creek Dam located on the Torrens River, approximately 22 km north east of Adelaide, is currently undergoing a major upgrade to address a number of deficiencies, including increasing flood capacity and reducing its vulnerability to major seismic loading.

Originally constructed in the 1960s and raised in 1983, recent reviews have indicated that the dam does not meet modern standards for an extreme consequence category dam.

The original dam was generally constructed from the rock won from the spillway excavation. This rock was quite variable in quality and strength and contained significant portions of low strength schist, which broke down when compacted by the rollers. The nature of this material in places is very fine with characteristics more akin to soil than rock. Review of this material suggests that large seepage flows (say following a major seismic event and rupture of the upstream face slab) could lead to extensive migration of the finer material and possible failure of the embankment. However, it is also envisaged that the zones of coarser material could behave as a rockfill and therefore transmit large seepage flows, which may result in unravelling of the downstream face leading to instability.

This paper addresses the design of the embankment raising and stabilising providing suitable protection against both these possible failure scenarios, which tend to lead to competing solutions. The final solution required the embankment to be considered both as a CFRD and a zoned earth and rockfill embankment.

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