(Lindenwold, NJ) – The Camden County Department of Public Works (DPW) has won the Public Project of the Year Award from the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers
for its emergency rehabilitation of the Kaighn Avenue Dam near Cooper River Park. The same project also won the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Project of the Year Award.
DPW completed an emergency inspection of the West Tide Gate because it was jammed and inoperable. Upon inspection, it was discovered that three of the six wheels that guide the tide gate structure had failed and fallen off. Due to this condition, the county immediately declared the dam in danger of failing and began preparing emergency repair plans.
“It’s not surprising that this project has now won a second award as it was vital to preserving the infrastructure of Camden County and that deserves to be celebrated,” said Commissioner Al Dyer, liaison to DPW. “This dedication is what makes our Department of Public Works so amazing. We have incredibly talented staff who are working tirelessly to help maintain county’s infrastructure and effectively saving us from larger issues and for that, I am incredibly proud and happy for DPW.”
Built in the early 1940s, the Kaighn Avenue Dam is located a few miles downstream from Cooper River Park and consists of two 45-foot-long by 15-foot-tall tide gate structures that fit inside a concrete dam structure. The gates serve a dual-purpose of retaining the upstream Cooper River Lake and preventing high tide from flooding the lower-elevation uplands. These gates can be lifted by hydraulics and are raised to lower the lake during low tides to create storage volume for storm events. The department manages the gates as part of the region’s storm management program.
Work done to the dam included removing the 70,000-pound tide gate, replacing the steel plates on the gate and the rails that guide the gate within the dam, designing an improved hub system to ensure the guide wheels to the gate will not fail in the future and coming up with an improved seal system that utilizes J-type seals that stop water from flowing around the tide gate.