Anrak Mills a Steep Grade
BY Wirtgen Communications
At an altitude of 0.15 mile, the earthfill embankment dam on Lake Oroville dams the waters of the Feather River. After several weeks of rainfall, the dam reached its maximum water level of around 5.6 billion cubic yards in the winter of 2017-2018 after only 50 days. As a result, the California Department of Water Resources had to initiate flood control measures at an early stage.
The water was discharged in a controlled manner over the top of the dam structure at the level of the dam crown and the adjacent spillway. Due to the large quantities of water and the extremely high water pressure, however, the 180-foot wide, main concrete spillway eroded to such an extent that rehabilitation was unavoidable.
The damage was initially minimized provisionally by filling the erosion in the surface with rolled concrete, “so that the owner could open the overflow system during the winter months, if necessary,” explained Chris Anderson, project manager at the subcontractor, milling service provider, Anrak Corporation, headquartered in Sacramento. This temporary material had to be removed prior to final paving however, to achieve the desired surface quality.
Eight days had been scheduled for the removal of the first layer of rolled concrete. The lower section of the spillway was about 984 feet long. The milling depth required was up to 3 inches at a 25 percent slope downhill, according to Anrak Corporation’s website.
This job was performed April 2018 by the W 2100 equipped with an ECO Cutter milling drum. This milling drum is fitted with up to 50 percent fewer picks at larger tool spacings (LA) than a standard milling drum. Fewer picks means a lower cutting resistance, making it possible to mill hard surfaces such as concrete.
This process was followed by the W 210i with a standard LA15 milling drum to give the milled surface the finer texture required to pave the new concrete layer. During the job, both machines used the Level Pro leveling system developed by Wirtgen.
According to Anrak’s CEO Tom Schmidt, this is a perfect symbiosis. He stated that using the Wirtgen milling machine with the Level Pro system offers a reliable and precise process: “The evenness of the surface is perfectly uniform and the machine always has excellent traction. The latter is important when milling rolled or Portland cement concrete. And the vibrations that are unavoidable when milling such a hard surface don’t affect the Level Pro system one bit.”
After the flat bed trucks had transported the cold milling machines to the upper end of the spillway, the machines were lifted onto the structure with the aid of lattice boom cranes and driven onto the area in need of rehabilitation via specially constructed ramps. Here they faced the next challenge—milling on a steep gradient. This challenge was solved by attaching more than 1,000 feet of 1.25- to 1.5-inch wire cabling to the blades of a large wheel loader and to the rear of the large milling machines, thus securing the machines while work was being carried out, according to the Anrak Corporation’s website. In the process, the heavy steel cables were attached to several hundred trolleys that are normally used for transporting heavy furniture in order to prevent them from rubbing against the ground. “We used the trolleys to prevent the texture of the freshly milled concrete surface from being damaged,” explained Tom Chastain, applications specialist at Wirtgen America.
The machines have a working width of 7.2 feet, and it took an average of two hours to remove an entire length. “In order to achieve the desired surface quality, but also for safety reasons, the cold milling machines were operated at a low advance rate of approximately 3 meters per minute,” said Chastain.
In the end, the W 2100 and the W 210i had each milled 28 full lengths. The cold milling machines loaded the milled material directly onto tracked vehicles with a capacity of 6.5 cubic yards. These machines are mainly used in open-cast mining, but their excellent maneuverability also made them valuable for steep gradient milling at the Oroville Dam. As soon as the tracked vehicles were filled, they unloaded the milled material at the lower end of the spillway so that it could be transported to a nearby concrete plant. There, the concrete milled material was reprocessed into new concrete for the subsequent construction project.
After the subproject of milling the spillway had been reliably completed within the scheduled time frame, the entire rehabilitation project costing 1.1 billion US dollars was completed on schedule after around two years.