A nearly $1.2 million project to move a mountain – quite literally – to ensure the safety of the Turlock Irrigation District's main canal succeeded without major incident.
The project saw TID remove a hilltop covering a 360-foot long tunnel above the district's upper main canal. The tunnel was in danger of collapsing, as cavities had formed in the ceiling, dropping a 900 square-foot boulder into the canal during the 2003 irrigation season.
Had the tunnel failed it would have likely resulted in a month-long irrigation outage, and nearly $15 million in lost revenue to farmers and TID.
“What we found it is it was a very good decision to take Tunnel 2 down,” said Tou Her, TID Assistant General Manager of Water Resources. “… When we went in there and did the work and pulled the tunnel down, we realized it was a little worse than what we thought.”
According to Her, the mountainside easily crumbled down as workers moved the dirt, signaling that the tunnel could have easily collapsed.
Directors approved the work in August 2012 at a cost of $967,000 plus about $200,000 in engineering costs. Construction, timed to occur in the winter so as not to effect irrigation season, was completed on Jan. 31.
In total, 64,000 cubic yards of dirt were moved in just 51 days.