Dam projects require an enormous amount of
engineering expertise. Because site conditions
vary considerably from one project to another,
no two dams are ever alike. When the design
of a dam includes unusual procedures, the
complexity is compounded.
The design of the Braddock Dam on the
Monongahela River was very unusual — it is
the largest dam ever to have major portions of
the structure constructed offsite and floated
into place. The off-site construction reduced
the interruptions to vital industrial traffic on
the river, but introduced other challenges.
When the J.A. Jones/Traylor Brothers Joint
Venture began the planning stages, Robert
Kindermann, Project Superintendent, and
Ivan Rotosky, Carpenter Foreman, talked to
Form Tech Concrete Forms Branch Manager
James Sweeney and Co-owner Mark Gordon
to get some concrete forming suggestions.
While Form Tech provided jobsite service and
application instruction, Symons® by Dayton
Superior provided concrete form design assistance.
Together, a combination of Versiform
for the straight walls and Steel-Ply culvert
forms for intersecting details in the dam sections
was recommended. It was also decided
that the hollow core pier stem sides would
utilize Versiform gangs, Steel-Ply details and
Flex-Form for the upstream bullnose sections
of the pier stems.
The dam was built in two segments, each
measuring 333' long, 104'-6" wide, 59' high
and weighing 22 million pounds. The base
of the dam included a series of voids with
grouting pipes that passed through a slab at
the surface. This key element allowed the dam
sections to float when the dry dock area was
flooded. When the dams were moved into
place, the air-filled voids were flooded with
water to make the dams sink. Once in place,
concrete was pumped in, displacing the water and creating the counterweight for the dam’s
Teamwork was the name of the game with this
successful project. J.A. Jones/Traylor Brothers
depended on Form Tech’s expertise, and they
in turn relied on the professional support
provided by Symons.