By Brandon HENSLEY
The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works held a special ceremony at Big Tujunga Dam on July 21 to celebrate the completion of the dam being seismically retrofitted.
The retrofit project cost $100 million and took three years to build. It included building a new dam in front of the old dam and fusing the two together. Officials worked with Shimmick Construction on the project.
On hand were local, state and county officials. Mark Pestrella, assistant director of Public Works, served as the day’s emcee.
A large canopy served as shade for the ceremony, where many people, who were served cold drinks and water on a warm day, listened to speakers County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, Public Works Director Gail Farber, L.A. Water & Power General Manager Ron Nichols and Paul Camaur, executive vice president of Shimmick Construction.
“After the 1994 devastating Northridge earthquake, the board of supervisors had directed the department of public works to do a seismic review of all of our dams and bring them up to code,” said Antonovich. “The department has now modified 13 major dams with a total construction cost of $156 billion.”
Located in Angeles National Forest north of Sunland, the dam was originally built in 1931. Referred to as “Big T,” it stands 200 feet tall and is a vital component of L.A. County’s flood protection program. The dam now has more than 75,000 cubic yards of concrete reinforcement and can store 300% more storm water for groundwater replenishment.
Farber called the dam’s new look “an engineering marvel and an amazing achievement,” and praised everyone who worked on the project, which overlapped with the Station Fire.
“And while the devastation of the Station Fire may have impeded this project’s progress, it did not destroy the resolve of the project team to complete its ability to deliver … this project on time and on budget,” she said.