Magisterial District: Project Located Outside of Henrico
Cobbs Creek Reservoir is the County’s $280 million project to secure its drinking water needs for decades into the future. The Cobbs Creek Reservoir is a 14.8 billion-gallon regional water supply impoundment located in Cumberland County, Virginia that will augment the flow of the James River as needed. Water will be pumped out of the reservoir and into the James River in the drier months, and it will be pulled from the James River into the reservoir in the wetter months. The reservoir will help during drought or near drought conditions by providing extra water to the flow of the James River.
In exchange for the construction of the Cobbs Creek Reservoir, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has approved an increase of 47 million gallons of raw water per day that can be taken from the river to supply drinking water. Previously, Henrico County could withdraw 45 million gallons per day on average. Under the new approval, Henrico County can withdraw up to 75 million gallons per day on average, an increase of 30 million gallons per day. The remaining 17 million gallons per day increase can be used by Henrico County and its regional partners. These higher limits will allow Henrico to serve water customers as the county continues to grow for perhaps the next 50 years depending on the County’s rate of growth.
Henrico has completed Phase I of the project, which was the acquisition of all the properties. Staff from both Real Property and Public Utilities worked with 22 property owners to coordinate the purchase of the required property.
Phase II of the project, where Colonial Pipeline Company and Dominion Energy relocated their existing utilities from the reservoir pool to outside the reservoir footprint, has also been completed. During Phase II, DPU’s contractors also completed the construction of a communications tower and road system.
Phase III of the project began in October 2016 with the bidding process for the construction of the three earthen dams, the water intake structure in the James River, a pumping station, and other facilities which will support this massive operation. In total, there will be over 3.5 million cubic yards of soil excavated across the 1,117-acre site and used to build the three earthen dams. The Perimeter Access Road Dam will be approximately 19 feet tall, and the Saddle Dam will be about 25 feet tall and 1,200 feet long. The larger Main Dam will stretch 3,850 feet in length along the north end of the reservoir and be 160 feet tall.
On March 2, 2017, sealed bids for the project were opened and read aloud by the County’s Purchasing Division. After evaluating these and determining the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously and awarded a contract for the construction of the reservoir to MEB Haymes Joint Venture LLC for $137.4 million on April 25, 2017. This was lower than the design engineer’s estimate, and the seven bids received ranged from $137.4 million to $209.4 million. MEB Haymes Joint Venture LLC is comprised of MEB General Contractors of Chesapeake and Haymes Brothers, Inc. of Chatham.
Construction on Cobbs Creek Reservoir began in June of 2017. Since mobilizing the contractor has cleared areas of land to construct the access road to the Pump Station, the Pump Station site, and the soil borrow areas for the soils used to construct the dams; as well as making substantial progress in the construction of the dams and facilities on site. Excavation of the Pump Station site is complete. The contractor has completed work in the two Intake Structures in the James River and the cofferdam in the James River has been removed. They have completed the concrete and steel work at the Pump Station and have nearly completed the installation of the roof, with only minor trim work remaining. All the pumps and motors have been set within the Pump Station. The contractor has completed placing the 72-inch piping from the drain valve vault (at the dam site) to the Pump Station. The contractor continues working on the valve vaults at the river site as well as the interior of the Pump Station and Operations Building. The Quarry has been completed. The concrete work for the Inlet/Outlet Tower is complete and the roof on the tower is also nearly complete. All concrete work has been complete for the Boat Ramp and only the parking lot remains for that area of the project. Work on the Perimeter Access Road Dam and Saddle Dam are about 95% complete. The contractor has completed the grout curtain and slurry wall in the Main Dam. The Energy Dissipater, Low Level Inlet and Spillway structures are also complete. Placing of core and shell material lifts along the Main Dam footprint has brought it to within 7 feet of its final elevation.
Construction of this project is anticipated to be completed within the year, and the reservoir is expected to be fully operational in 2023.