Trends Spring 2016 - Page 2

DELIVERING AT THE BYLLESBY DAM From water resources work and engineering services to architectural design and structural inspection, Ayres is there for Minnesota client and its high-hazard dam By Bob Brown O fficials in Dakota County in southeastern Minnesota learned the hard way that sometimes first choices aren’t always the best. About four years ago, while planning a major renovation to the 105-year-old Byllesby Dam across the Cannon River, Dakota County hired a company to manage the project that, as it turned out, couldn’t deliver on its promises. Josh Petersen, senior resources engineer for Dakota County Environmental Resources, explains that shortly after work on the dam began, the engineers assigned to oversee the renovation moved to 2│ TRENDS a different company that wasn’t interested in assuming the project. “So we were kind of left hanging in the wind,” Petersen said. County officials returned to their original Request for Proposals list, placed a call to Ayres Associates, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. “Ayres did a great job of taking on the project. Their willingness to jump in at a time when we thought we were facing a really substantial cost increase was so important,” Petersen said. “After working with them, it’s clear we should have chosen Ayres in our first go-round, based on how great they’ve been to work with.” Responding to project needs The Byllesby Dam was built across the Cannon River in 1910 by Henry M. Byllesby & Company. The dam, which was built mostly by hand labor, created the Lake Byllesby Reservoir, a 3.5-mile long, 1,432-acre lake, which today is an important regional recreational resource. The border between Dakota and Goodhue counties runs through the middle of Lake Byllesby and, in fact, Goodhue County was the original owner of the dam. In 1978 the dam was sold to Dakota County for $1. At that point, the three original turbines in the dam’s powerhouse had