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Montgomery Point Dam Designer Receives Engineering Award

Installation of the navigable pass gates, which lie on the bottom during high water, and are hydraulically raised when the river stage drops. MWH received the Grand Conceptor award for design of these gates.

Installation of the navigable pass gates, which lie on the bottom during high water, and are hydraulically raised when the river stage drops. MWH received the Grand Conceptor award for design of these gates.

The completed lock, looking downstream toward the Mississippi River.

The completed lock, looking downstream toward the Mississippi River.

A trial installation of the maintenance dewatering structure.

A trial installation of the maintenance dewatering structure.

Upstream view of the lock and dam during construction.

Upstream view of the lock and dam during construction.

On May 22, the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) presented its Grand Conceptor award to environmental engineering, construction and consulting group MWH at the organization’s 40th Annual Engineering Excellence Awards competition in Chicago.

The award was for MWH’s contribution to the design of the Montgomery Point Lock and Dam project in Arkansas, owned by the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District.

MWH designed the cofferdam, overflow spillway and hinged crest gates, said Chander Sehgal, vice president and project manager for MWH.

The Montgomery Point Lock and Dam Project will improve navigation in the White River Entrance Channel by damming the entrance during low water, creating a stable navigable pool. Environmental features of the project will protect aquatic resources. This channel constitutes the first segment (10 miles) of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.

The project features a dam consisting of a 300-foot-wide gated navigable pass, a 200-foot-wide ungated overflow spillway, and a 110-foot-wide by 600-foot-long navigation lock. The navigable pass includes 10 hydraulically-operated hinged crest gates placed side by side. All gates are normally submerged in the lowered position, allowing vessels to pass over them. As the downstream Mississippi River stages fall, the gates are raised to maintain minimum navigable depths upstream and vessels pass through the lock.

The project includes a unique dewatering structure for maintaining six navigable pass gates simultaneously and a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system for remote operation and monitoring of the facilities.

The Grand Conceptor Award recognizes an engineering achievement that demonstrates a high degree of merit and ingenuity, contributes to the advancement of the private practice of engineering, and enhances the economic and social welfare of the general public. This year there were 180 entries, from which 24 finalists are chosen. The awards include 16 Honor Awards, seven Grand Awards, and one Grand Conceptor.

The awards dinner was attended by more than 800 engineers, clients and government officials. Known as the “academy awards” of engineering, the competition recognizes outstanding projects designed by private practice engineering firms who conduct business in the United States.

Previous ACEC awards won by MWH include ACEC-National Grand award for South Holston Project in Tennessee (1994) and ACEC-Illinois Eminent Conceptor awards for the Montgomery Point Lock and Dam in Arkansas (2007), the Guri Project in Venezuela (1986), TARP (Tunnel and Reservoir Plan) Project in Chicago (1985) and the Cornell Hydro Project in Wisconsin (1977).

Headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, MWH is a private, employee-owned firm with approximately 6,000 employees. The company provides water, wastewater, energy, natural resource, program management, consulting and construction services to industrial, municipal and government clients in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, India, Asia and the Pacific Rim.

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