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Pikes Creek Dam Rehabilitation

Leading-edge spillway system strengthens critical infrastructure and prevents overtopping.
  • Aerial view of Pikes Creek Dam showing Fusegates and reservoir - Gannett Fleming.

    The project marks the first labyrinth-style installation of the Fusegate system in Pennsylvania.

  • Aerial view of construction at dam, showing reservoir in the background - Gannett Fleming.

    Reduced excavation and concrete quantities, compared to other spillway solutions, saved $5 million.

  • Closeup of Fusegate system at Pikes Creek Dam - Gannett Fleming.

    A total of 18 Fusegates prevent overtopping of the earthen embankment dam.

Pennsylvania American Water

KC Construction Company, Hydroplus® Inc.

Luzerne County, Pennsylvania

Our Role
Design, Construction Management.

2.9 billion gallons
Construction Cost
$20 million
  • Dam spillway capacity four times greater than the dam in its prior condition
  • Use of Fusegate system reduced construction costs by an estimated $5 million
  • On-site construction management enabled project delivery 11 months ahead of schedule.

Pikes Creek Dam stores 2.9 billion gallons of water and provides drinking water for 29,000 customers in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. When the existing spillway capacity was found to be insufficient to pass the largest flood that could conceivably occur at the location without overtopping the dam, the owner, Pennsylvania American Water, took action to meet state Department of Environmental Protection regulations.

Gannett Fleming led the dam rehabilitation design. To increase spillway capacity, the dam’s auxiliary spillway was upgraded to the Hydroplus® Fusegate® system—the first labyrinth-style Fusegate installation in Pennsylvania. At Pikes Creek Dam, 18 Fusegates tip at progressively higher reservoir levels during a significant precipitation event, which increases spillway capacity and prevents overtopping of the earthen embankment dam. Spillway capacity at the facility is now four times greater than it was previously.

What We Did

The Fusegate system required a relatively small spillway footprint compared to other solutions, significantly reducing the need for excavation and concrete quantities, which saved an estimated $5 million in construction costs. The design team realized additional savings by developing a detailed and complex two-dimensional hydraulic model to assess downstream flow conditions. By investing an additional $20,000 in the more robust model, Pennsylvania American Water reduced construction costs by nearly half a million dollars.

A close partnership with the client throughout the project provided opportunities to further reduce costs by streamlining design phase services and critically evaluating significant expenses. Gannett Fleming provided on-site construction management services and worked closely with the contractor and client to complete the work 11 months ahead of schedule. The result is a rehabilitated dam that efficiently serves 29,000 customers, while providing enhanced downstream protection.

Key Features

  • 18 Fusegates tip at progressively higher reservoir levels to prevent overtopping
  • Fusegates operate by themselves, as a result of the forces acting upon them, offering greater reliability compared to other conventional movable-crest type spillway systems
  • Complex hydraulic model of downstream flow conditions reduced construction costs by demonstrating reduced need for excavation.

Awards & Recognition

  • National Recognition Award, 2020, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Engineering Excellence Awards
  • Diamond Award Certificate, 2019, American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACEC/PA), Diamond Awards for Engineering Excellence

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