Mead & Hunt has won a Best of State award from ACEC-Wisconsin for our design, project management, and construction administration of the Little Falls Dam Reconstruction project at the Willow River State Park. This award serves to honor projects that exemplify the skill and creativity of the engineering profession.
The Little Falls Dam was originally constructed in 1892 and reconstructed in 1906 at its present location. Owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), the dam was purposely breached in 2015 due to spillway capacity and structural stability concerns.
The WDNR sought a new dam designed to pass the 1,000-year return period flood, discharge cooler water from lower elevations in the reservoir, reduce the frequency of gate operations, and maintain public access to the dam. Mead & Hunt presented the WDNR with numerous dam configurations to address the many design objectives. They collaborated with agency staff to ultimately design a new dam composed of an overflow spillway, intake tower with multiple withdrawal elevations, four crest gates, and non-overflow sections.
The newly rebuilt dam is expected to provide approximately a century of safe flood passage, user-friendly recreation amenities for park visitors, and easier gate operations and water level control for park personnel. Congratulations to all involved on this impressive achievement!