More than 188,000 people have been evacuated from homes and businesses in Northern California after heavy rains damaged the Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the United States. While residents and officials now place the safety of everyone involved as the top priority, the dam’s physical integrity, or lack thereof, also poses a significant financial risk as well.
A massive hole has formed in the dam’s spillway, and experts estimate repair costs could reach $200 million.
The dam also provides irrigation and water supply to 755,000 acres of land and 25 million California residents as well. The Oroville Dam forms Lake Oroville, which holds around 3.5 million acre feet of water. Lake Oroville is the second largest water reservoir in the state of California.
Costs Vs. Infrastructure Campaign Promises
President Donald Trump has pledged to spend $1 trillion in the next decade on infrastructure projects to improve dams, roads, bridged, airports and other construction projects. One of the largest construction projects Trump wants to begin within months is the construction of a 1,000-mile, 40-foot-high concrete wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
One of the most recent estimates has the border wall cost alone at $21.6 billion, not an insignificant portion of the pledged infrastructure spend.
Speculative Repair Companies
There has been no indication from federal or local authorities about which companies could be involved in Oroville Dam’s repair, but it will certainly be a major project. In terms of major U.S. construction companies that could be involved in the repair process, Bechtel Corporation is one of the likeliest candidates. Bechtel is the largest privately-held construction company in the United States. Bechtel was one of six companies commissioned by the government back in 1931 to build the Hoover Dam.
In addition to Bechtel, the Utah Construction Company was also part of the Hoover Dam project. Utah Construction is…
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