December 1st, 1930 is recognized as the date that the largest earthen dam in the country became operational, providing 10,000 kilowatts of electricity to the surrounding neighborhoods. The 1.5 mile long damn, covering 99 acres, provided service to 55,000 acres (about twice the area of Manhattan) of land at Dreher Shoals which would come to be known as The Lake Murray Dam, one of the top visitation sites for all of Columbia, SC.
Since powder coating requires regular maintenance and is easily scratched, dented, or cracked, the application of hot-dip galvanizing was the desired choice by far.
During the 1940s, the area was used as a military training base to train bomber pilots using seven of the lake’s islands as targets. Under the water you will find dozens of communities, the Wise Ferry Bridge, airplanes, railroad cars, and many grave sites.
Dominion Energy purchased the hydro-electric dam from South Carolina Electric and Gas Company back in 2019. At a cost of $275 million dollars, improvements were made to the dam along with adding two extra road lanes for traffic and a walkway for visitors. This walkway provides locals and tourists with a place to exercise and to experience a full 180-degree view of the lake. Beautiful sunsets and even a view of downtown Columbia, SC is a daily occurrence for this walkway and for hundreds, if not thousands, of daily visitors.
After only a few years of service, some safety concerns started to be noticed. Sinclair Metals, a local steel fabricator, was notified of these concerns in 2022 and decided they wanted to be a part of one of SC’s largest tourist attractions while providing safety for the visitors there. During the renovations in 2019, proper steps were not taken to provide a safety rail for the walkway; therefore, the old rail started to rust and peel. This created a safety issue for the many visitors. Sinclair Metals was to disassemble the 1,440’ of double railing, fabricate the new railing, and install the new railing. Their first choice of protective coating was hot-dip galvanizing. Since powder coating requires regular maintenance and is easily scratched, dented, or cracked, the application of hot-dip galvanizing was the desired choice by far.
In addition to requiring a highly corrosion resistant coating due to the marine climate and high humidity, the project also required a swift response and completion time. Hot-dip galvanizing was the most cost-efficient option and provided a quick completion time as well as the longest life span for the cost. Another benefit of galvanizing was the protection from high and low temperature variances. With the elevation of the dam and wide-open spaces, the high winds provided severe low temperatures in the winter while the South Carolina heat kept these rails at a high temperature in the summertime but with the protection hot-dip galvanizing provided, no problems were to be expected.
The safety rail job was completed quickly and with no further issues. The new rail provided a safe and quick way to keep the dam open to visitors during construction and will now be able to continue doing its job for a long time to come.
Water & Marine
Columbia, SC United States
Aesthetics, Coating Durability, Corrosion Performance, Ease of Specifying, Initial Cost, Life-Cycle Cost, Sustainability, Turnaround Time
Valmont Coatings - Columbia Galvanizing
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