The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Home Page

February 7, 2009


Corps: Ongoing stability project will significantly improve safety

HINTON — For more than 60 years, Bluestone Dam has made life from Hinton to Point Pleasant considerably safer, preventing about $4.6 billion in flood damages to people living along the New and Kanawha rivers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives say.

However, considerable work will need to be finished if lives and property are to remain safe, they said. If Bluestone Dam were to fail, the results would be catastrophic.

“This nation cannot take a failure of Bluestone Dam. The consequences are enormous,” said Col. Dana R. Hurst, commander and district engineer for the Corps of Engineers’ Huntington District.

Hurst and other representatives conducted information sessions last week with reporters and residents in Hinton. Those attending were given updates on the 10-year, $250 million construction project to fully stabilize the dam and what dangers the community could face during a major disaster.

Hurst said Bluestone Dam was safe. Even if heavy precipitation struck, it would still be safe. But during what he called a “Noah’s Ark” flood, that would be an entirely different situation.

“Today, with its pool at 1,406.5 feet, that dam is safe,” he said. “If that rose one foot, it would still be safe. A week from now, it would still be safe.

“But at higher elevations, there is concern for its stability.”

Bluestone Dam began operation in 1949. Hurst said that when the dam was originally built and designed, it was constructed to withstand the worst event in history to that date. But after 1960, the National Weather Service began using models called “probable maximum precipitation.”

“Basically, this is a ‘Noah’s Ark’ rainfall event that could occur,” he explained.

Hurst said the dam’s foundation was also a major concern. Bluestone has 55 monoliths — individual pieces that came together during construction. The rock underneath the dam could cause those monoliths to slide.

Text Only
Latest News
Local News

Latest Sports
Inside Sports
  • New thinking

    Best way to address past financial failings is to look for alternatives

    April 17, 2014

  • momrun Just do it W.Va.!

    “Missy’s here — we’re not going to win. Missy’s here…”
    Learning she was a perceived threat from two women whispering at the starting line behind her, women she had never met from among the hopping, stretching, Lycra-clad crowd, had one effect on Missy Burleson — a smile spreading as far as her feet were about to sprint her.

    April 16, 2014 5 Photos

  • lewis shop 1 Custom car care

    Lewis Automotive Group has added exhaust and mufflers to its list of available services.

    April 13, 2014 2 Photos

Sunday Profile
  • New river 10 VIDEO: New River shows off Arts and Science Building

    Surveying the sun-drenched, soaring student center inside New River Community and Technical College’s newly renovated Arts and Science Building, it’s difficult to imagine that as recently as a year ago a rabbit warren of 20 windowless offices occupied this space.

    March 30, 2014 2 Photos

CNHI Specials
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Daily Photo Gallery

Click on any of the photos above to view more or purchase them.


Register-Herald Videos

Register-Herald on Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later