Dawson County Government News

Storm Water Pipe Replacement on Sweetwater Juno Road

On January 25, 2012 Dawson County’s Road Department discovered the storm water pipe beneath Sweetwater Juno Road between Steele Bridge Road and Goldmine Road was in failure.  Some cause to the failure of this pipe was due to beaver dams inside the pipe and in the surrounding area.  The beaver dam built inside the existing barrel of the pipe restricted approximately 50% of the flow capacity causing the remaining 50% of flow to find other means to move downstream.  This resulted in undermining of the road base between the top of the pipe and bottom of the road bed.  Through the collaboration of numerous Dawson County departments the County was able to save approximately $50,000 for this project.

The Sweetwater Juno Road project allowed for in-house design and environmental permitting, which was no cost to the County.  If this project was engineered and permitted by an outside consulting firm the estimated cost would have been $8,000.  Interdepartmental cooperation allowed for the project to smoothly transition from design to construction to completion.  Dawson County departments included on this project were:  the Road Department, Facilities, the Sheriff’s Department and Corrections, the Transfer Station, the Marshal’s Office and the Planning and Development Department.  The smooth cooperation among all departments allowed for the project time of completion to take a minimum of four weeks versus eleven months if the project were outsourced.  Outsourcing would have required approximately six months for engineering and permitting, an additional two months for bidding and Board of Commissioners’ approval, and approximately three months for construction ($34,200 for stacked bag headwalls or $70,000-$90,000 for poured in place concrete headwalls). 

David Headley, Director of Public Works and Community Development, and Corey Gutherie, Engineering Director, used a cost savings alternative solution for the headwalls for the pipe replacement.  Traditionally, poured in place concrete headwalls are used for this type of application, which would cost between $70,000 - $90,000, however, the engineering team designed the retaining walls to be built of 4,000 stacked, 40 lb. hand filled sand and concrete cement bags.  Another alternative construction for the headwalls would have been stacked rip-rap, which would have taken three additional months for environmental permitting alone and would have additional environmental impacts and permitting requirements.  By using the bags versus the poured in place concrete headwalls the County was able to save between $52,000 - $72,000 based on the bids that were received for poured in place concrete headwalls.  Another benefit to the use of the stacked bags is that in time the bags will decompose leaving the inner concrete mix revealed, which will have hardened to form a rustic, stacked stone look rather than a very urban appearance with the poured in place concrete wall.  The stacked bag walls will blend nicely with the natural surroundings in time.  This 700 man hour project consisted of 65% of the labor provided by inmates and the rest provided by interdepartmental county staff.  Once construction began the road was only closed for ten days.

County Manager Kevin Tanner remarked, “This project was a testament to what Dawson County is capable of doing when departments work together for a common cause.”


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