Great Falls Dam Bypasses cited in National Engineering Competition

April 7, 2024

S&ME of Spartanburg, S.C., has earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) 57th annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) for Duke Energy’s Great Falls – Dearborn Dam Diversion Bypasses Project in Great Falls, S.C.

S&ME provided geotechnical, environmental design, permitting, and construction materials testing services for the rehabilitation of the Long Bypassed Reach Diversion Dam, Short Bypassed Reach Spillway, and Headworks Spillway. Notching the dam in two locations restored flows to a portion of the Catawba River for the first time in more than 120 years, and provided recreational space for kayakers, canoeists, and rafters.

The unique project site blended old and new structures nestled within the active flow of a river. The remote site required construction of access roads and ramps to move heavy equipment across challenging rocky and wet terrain, while marine tugboats and a tower crane were needed to access several nearly unreachable areas. S&ME field-engineered a creative solution to verify the rock-to-grout bond strengths of the new dowel built into the existing dam, ensuring that river flows will not affect the improvements’ long-term structural integrity.

The project is eligible for additional honors as part of 203 entries this year representing engineering excellence from throughout the nation and the world. Judging for the awards program—known industry-wide as the “Academy Awards of the engineering industry”—took place in February and was conducted by a national 32-member panel of built environment leaders, along with experts from government, the media and academia. Award criteria focused on uniqueness and originality, technical innovation, social and economic value, and generating excitement for the engineering profession.

Recognition of all award winners including top winners—16 Honor Awards, eight Grand Awards and the prestigious “Grand Conceptor Award” for the year’s most outstanding overall engineering achievement—will take place during the 2024 EEA Gala, to be held at the Grand Hyatt, Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is the business association of America’s engineering industry, representing more than 5,200 independent engineering firms and more than 600,000 professionals throughout the United States engaged in the development of America’s transportation, water, and energy infrastructure, along with environmental, industrial, and other public and private facilities. Founded in 1906 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., ACEC is a national federation of 51 state and regional organizations.