Upgrading the Burrinjuck Dam

The Burrinjuck Dam is a major gated concrete-walled gravity dam situated in the South West Slopes region of New South Wales. Located 34 kilometres south west of Yass, the dam was built to mitigate the impact of floods on the region, generate power and serve as a water supply to the surrounding area.

A historic State Water asset, the dam construction project commenced in 1907 and took over twenty years to complete. In the intervening years the dam was upgraded in 1957 and 1994 before Abergeldie was tasked with the most recent upgrades.

The dam’s location presented the original construction crew with a number of complex challenges. A narrow gauge railway line connecting the construction site to Goondah had to be constructed by New South Wales Government Railways in order to deliver building materials to the site. And the site’s location in the middle of a steep gorge required the erection of a cableway across the spillway face to ferry workers and materials from one side to another.

Access to the site has not changed in over 100 years. The cableway is still the main way of accessing the dam and would present any building company with challenges. It was also the principal reason for the upgrade. Abergeldie was contracted by State Water to address the OHS risks associated with transporting workers in the cableway’s man box—still the only way to access the southern cable tower. Abergeldie was also charged with advising on a reliable manner of delivering materials to the site.

The job required the delivery of design, fabrication, installation and construction services. Abergeldie also designed, tested and commissioned a new steel trussed bridge to provide an alternative access route across the southern spillway from the dam parapet to the cableway’s tail tower. The commissioning of new steel trussed stairs and access platforms to provide for improved access from the parapet wall down to the north and south spillway walls also formed part of the project.

One important consideration given the location of the construction site was emergency access. It was critical that emergency response and evacuation procedures were incorporated in the site induction and safety training. For instance, Abergeldie conducted additional training sessions on working at heights safety and emergency evacuation training.

Overall, the Burrinjuck Dam upgrade works tested Abergeldie’s full suite of civil infrastructure capabilities and earned the company a win in Category 2 at the New South Wales CCF Earth Awards 2013.

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About Abergeldie

Abergeldie is a civil engineering contractor with over 25 years’ experience providing services in the utilities, energy and infrastructure sectors: the complex infrastructure needed to build better communities.

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