Project Status: Underway - Construction
Estimated Cost: $280 million
Start Date: June 2017
Estimated End Date: Dec 2021
Magisterial District: Project Located Outside of Henrico
Cobbs Creek Reservoir is the County’s $280 million project to secure its drinking water needs for perhaps the next five decades. 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 with 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 the amount of raw water that Henrico County can take from the river each day 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. 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.
The facility creates an additional 17 million gallons per day approved by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality available to Henrico and its regional partners.
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 two earthen dams, the water intake structure in the James River, a pumping station, and other facilities which will support this massive operation.
On November 17, 2016, Henrico County hosted a pre-bid conference for the prospective contractors and suppliers to answer their questions about the County’s largest single capital construction project. Approximately 130 people assembled for this meeting.
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 been clearing areas of land to construct the access road to the pump station, the pump station site, the soil borrow areas for the soils used to construct the dams (main, saddle and access road dams), and installing an on-site concrete batch plant. In addition, preparation work for excavation of the pump station and installation of the coffer dam to allow installation of the intake structure in the James River is ongoing. Upcoming work includes the Cobbs Creek diversion to allow installation of the 84-inch inlet/out pipe to the dam and the inlet/out tower at the dam to facilitate the beginning of main dam construction.
In total, there will be about 3.5 million cubic yards of soil excavated across the 1,117 acre site and used to build the two earthen dams. The smaller “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. Additionally, there will be an intake structure with piping, a pump station, and an operations building all constructed by the James River to aid in the filling and draining of the reservoir.
Construction of this project is anticipated to be completed in approximately 4 years, and the reservoir is expected to be fully operational in 2022.
Progress to Date
Utility Clearing – Began in July 2015 and completed in February 2016
Utility Relocation – Began in March 2016 and completed in December 2016
Dam & Facilities Construction – Began in June 2017 with expected completion in December 2021