Greeley and Hansen, A TYLin Company, collaborated with Citizens Energy Group to restore the upstream intake structure of the Indiana Central Canal, which provides sixty percent of the water supply in Indianapolis.
In October 2018, the 120-year-old Emrichsville Dam failed causing the upstream intake structure to no longer be operational, reducing available water supply. This intake is a critical water supply for the Canal. A new structure was required to regain functionality of the intake. Various alternatives were evaluated considering the community, the White River, and water customers. A rock ramp was selected as the most environmentally friendly solution to reinstate the intake. Rock ramps offer many environmental and human benefits relative to traditional low-head dams.
The project team took a holistic approach when examining opportunities to not only restore the water level to serve the potable water needs of Central Indiana, but to do so in a more responsible manner. Low head dams, such as Emrichsville Dam, are used throughout the world for flood control, recreation and water supply needs. However, low head dams have resulted in unnecessary loss of life due to the dangerous hydraulic undertows. They also segregate fish populations and aquatic species and limit diversity within the river. The selection of the rock ramp is forward-looking step in not only meeting the water supply needs of Central Indiana, but to do so while improving the overall health and safety of the White River and its users.
A collaborative design-build approach was used to achieve a four-month construction period. It began with the purchase of large weir stone material in while local quarries had capacity to source prior to roadway construction season. Construction started on July 1 to avoid the fish spawn and was completed before end of October which can be the start of the high river flow season.
- Recognized with an Engineering Excellence Honor Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Indiana.
- Rock ramp provides the required water elevation the canal intake while providing fish passage, improving habitat and water quality, and meeting public safety goals.
- Created desired water surface elevations with the construction of natural, locally sourced materials that blend and complement the surrounding aesthetic.
- Reduced velocities near shore which reduced erosion of riverbanks and improved stability and safety.