Close up look at Oroville Dam damage

Monday, February 13, 2017 04:57PM
The Oroville Dam has suffered serious damage since a hole opened up in the main spillway over the weekend.


OROVILLE, Calif. - The Oroville Dam has suffered serious damage since a hole opened up in the main spillway over the weekend.

The hole opened up on a wall of the main spillway. Since the hole opened up, the water from the dam has been flowing freely over the top of the dam.

It's possible that other parts of the dam's wall could break off.

The emergency spillway also eroded so much that an entire roadway around the dam is gone.

The damage is estimated at $200 million, but that number could go up.

Almost 200,000 people have evacuated their homes as a result of the break.

If there is any further damage to the bridge, homes and even towns downriver from the flooded areas could be wiped out.

A UC Berkeley Engineering Professor says the Orovile Dam situation is a wake-up call, not only for those who've evacuated but for the entire country.

"I think this is a very critical infrastructure issue that will have to be addressed on a national level," said Nicholas Sitar.

Sitar says the Oroville Dam is a very important water structure for the state, and long term damage could affect every Californian economically.

Sitar also says the plan to dump rock into the crater in the main spill, may only do a little to help if the rock is not reinforced.
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