DECATUR – Recent good weather cleared up the opportunity for work to increase storage capacity for sediment dredged from Lake Decatur.
Workers from Terra Contracting Services Inc. had lost as many as 150 days from rain and wet weather since the start of the project last year. At the end of August, it was estimated that its efforts could extend into 2016.
But improved conditions allowed them to catch up, and the work is now 75 percent done, said Jerry Stevens, engineering services coordinator for the city's water management department.
“Now that the weather has turned better, and they've gotten a lot of sunny days lately, they can move a lot of dirt,” he said.
The project involves raising the barriers, or berms, around a 523-acre site in Oakley, and heavy trucks can't maneuver in wet, muddy conditions. The basin needs greater capacity to hold the sediment being pumped from the lake by the city's contractor, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock.
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Dredging work hit a small snag last week as an electrical failure stopped the dredging operations for a few days.
In general, though, the project is proceeding on schedule, Stevens said.
Great Lakes workers have removed 2,147,730 cubic yards of material from Lake Decatur since the project began in late October last year.
One cubic yard is equal to about 200 gallons of material. The $91 million project is expected to increase the lake's capacity by about 30 percent, officials have said.
In 2015, the total is 1,789,729 cubic yards, and the month of September saw removal of 301,940 cubic yards.
Stevens said Great Lakes currently employs 19 people from Macon or the surrounding counties, and 12 who are not. All but two of Terra's 18 employees are local.