City of Asheville celebrates completion of North Fork Dam Improvement project

City of Asheville celebrates completion of North Fork Dam Improvement project

It’s official: a 5-year, $38 million improvement to safeguard the City of Asheville’s primary drinking water resource has been completed.

City and county officials, Asheville Water Resources leaders and employees, along with engineering and other project teaming partners gathered Oct. 20 at the North Fork Reservoir in eastern Buncombe County to officially celebrate the completion of the Dam Improvement project.

Numerous physical changes to the dam will help protect the source of 70 percent of the City’s water, along with enhancing the safety of nearby residents. Improvements also allow the facility to meet evolving state regulatory requirements. Changes include:

  • Improvements to the spillway and the creation of an auxiliary spillway, which not only improve capacity but also allow the reservoir to better handle extreme storm events
  • Earth buttressing with excavation materials to provide greater seismic stability
  • Additional instrumentation to monitor dam operations as it relates to both capacity and potential seismic activity
  • Modifications to the water conveyance system in the area of the dam and reservoir
  • Upgrades to access roads and bridges
  • Raising the dam itself by 4 feet

Schnabel Engineering served as the primary engineer and designer for the dam improvement project. WithersRavenel assisted by providing communication and public education services. In the early stages of the project, tasks included developing an overall communications plan, followed by providing information, exhibits, and support for community meetings. Additionally, WithersRavenel put together information for the City’s website and materials for official regulatory public hearings. Later, WithersRavenel continued to provide communication support services including project-specific materials, talking points and event planning assistance.

Additional partners on the project include:

  • Phillips and Jordan: Construction contractor
  • McGill Associates:  Utilities engineering
  • Hydroplus:  Fuse gate contractor
  • Atlas Engineering:  Bridge design
  •  Equinox:  Environmental permitting
  • North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Public Water Supply Division and Dam Safety Program

Congratulations to the City of Asheville and Schnabel Engineering on the completion of this important project that will protect the City of Asheville’s primary drinking water source for generations to come!

Local officials cut the ribbon to mark the completion of the North Fork Dam Improvements project.

Spillway improvements not only boost capacity but also provide greater contingencies if needed for extreme weather events.

City officials and employees gathered with project engineers and other contributing consultants to celebrate the completion of the project.