US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District

Divers Assess Placement of John Martin Dam Supports

Public Affairs
Published April 12, 2012

A project is planned to replace damaged and, in some cases, missing bulkhead gate supports at the District’s John Martin Dam. The existing supports have been in place since the dam was built more than 50 years ago. 

Preliminary work by divers will not affect visitors and will assess the conditions around the existing supports, as a concern exists about sediment that has collected there. 

According to Lev Bogle, civil engineer in the Maintenance Engineering Unit of the Operations Technical Support Section, new steel supports were fabricated and will be attached to the upstream surface of the dam, immediately below the conduit inlets by means of anchor bolts, as soon as divers can safely perform the replacement.

Bogle is the project manager and District dive coordinator.  He will assist the dive team from the Army’s 511th EN Dive DET of Fort Eustis, Va., who will eventually install the supports.  John Martin Park Ranger Craig Trinkle will provide daily oversight.

“This is a non-routine, operation and maintenance project,” Bogle said.  “The supports are old and need replacing, but the dive team’s safety is the first priority.”

A bulkhead gate is a rectangular-steel construction that is lowered into place to seal off the conduit inlets.  When the bulkhead gate is in position, the emergency and service gates within the dam can be opened for inspection and repair.

“A job requiring divers is unusual for us, as we rarely do any diving in the Albuquerque District,” Bogle said.  “However, we’ve worked with this Army dive team before at the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, N.M.  They are a first-rate unit. We’re fortunate to have them as a resource, and we’re looking forward to future work with them.”