Once completed in 2019, Ituango will be the biggest hydroelectric dam in Colombia, providing some 17% of the country’s electricity requirements.
Following the blockage of the diversion tunnels on the Cauca river, the situation was declared critical. The blockage caused rapid and unplanned filling of the reservoir, which led to a number of technical and environmental problems that damaged the structure. An emergency increase in the dam’s height had to be made to prevent overspill.
To consolidate this increase in height, teams from Soletanche Bachy Cimas and GEO have been at work since the start of September to install a watertight screen 38m deep and more than 500m long, involving the excavation of some 23,000m3. The 22,000m2 cut-off wall has just been successfully completed on a very tight schedule, requiring teams to work round the clock, 24/7. This was followed by work on the sides of the dam, including excavation, consolidation, and grouting, using techniques that have not previously been deployed in this country, along with some more familiar procedures such as Hi’Drill® and the SPICE software. The teams on site are due to finish the final challenge on the project in the coming days, which involves raising the dam to its definitive height.
This project was the result of a collaboration between local subsidiaries, subsidiaries in neighbouring countries in terms of human resources and techniques, and the Group’s materials laboratory. This degree of mobilisation was appreciated by the client, and may result in further projects.