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Thu September 16 2021

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Record-breaking rubber bladder installed at US dam

31 Aug 18 Contractor PC Construction has replaced the largest rubber dam bladder of its kind in the USA.

The original bladder, which the company had installed at Highgate Dam in Vermont in 1992, had reached the end of its lifespan. When time came for replacement, the Village of Swanton brought PC back to get the job done.

The new inflatable bladder, which was shipped from China, is 81m long and 17m wide, weighing 47t. During installation, the bladder had to line up with the 576 existing anchor bolts on the dam’s concrete surface.

To ensure precise placement, the bladder was laid out flat to allow PC Construction to work with a surveyor to punch holes along the bladder’s edge. It was then folded up for transport to the dam for final preparations.

Work began on 1 July with the construction of an access road to the river. Once the road was in place, crews removed the old bladder, donating the salvaged material to local farmers to be used as bedding under livestock. The new bladder was delivered to the site in late July before being unfolded and installed, bolt-by-bolt, until it was securely in place. PC completed the installation in the middle of this month and officially finished the project last week after several rounds of testing.

Project partners included GW Tatro, CCS Crane Service, Barrett Trucking, HTE Engineering, HL Turner, and the village of Swanton.

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