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Kleinfelder Wins ACEC Engineering Excellence Gold Award for Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Redevelopment Project

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

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Historic and environmental preservation is key to promoting social and economic sustainability

SEATTLE, Washington — Kleinfelder has received the Gold Award for Social, Economic, and Sustainable Development from the American Council of Engineering Companies, Washington Chapter (ACEC-WA) for the redevelopment of Snoqualmie Falls Hydropower Plant in Snoqualmie, Washington. Kleinfelder received the award for demonstrating advanced technical expertise throughout the three-year, $200 million redevelopment of this landmark facility. The redevelopment included renovation of a 116-year-old power-generating infrastructure, preservation of six historical buildings, and development of major recreational site enhancements.

The Snoqualmie Falls Hydropower Plant 1, owned and operated by Puget Sound Energy, is the world’s first completely underground powerhouse. Built and carved using hand drills and explosives in 1898, the powerhouse is located in a cavern only accessible via a vertical 294-foot shaft. In 1910, a second, larger power-generation system was built on the Snoqualmie River, below the falls. The hydroelectric plants are considered historically significant because they were instrumental in introducing alternating current electricity to the world.

Project work included demolition and redevelopment of the original subsurface powerhouse and second larger powerhouse, water intake structures, multiple water conveyance systems, and a low-head diversion dam. The project also included construction of a site museum, interpretive center, viewing areas and park facilities, shoreline restoration and protection, and restoration of six historical register buildings.

“Kleinfelder was enthusiastic to work on this project because of its complexity, diverse construction techniques and commitments to the historic power plant and the surrounding environment,” says Rick Della, senior project manager. “For Puget Sound Energy, the challenge was to ensure that the plant continued to provide clean, renewable power, protect the historic structures, and ensure that visitors can enjoy the falls and surrounding environment while meeting an accelerated 36-month schedule.”

A museum, interpretive center, viewing areas and park facilities are now available to nearly two million annual visitors. Aside from providing a place for visitors to enjoy the falls, the project now provides clean power for some 40,000 households.

“This was an extraordinary, one of a kind project that exemplifies Kleinfelder’s commitment to sustainability, teamwork, and innovation,” says Della. “ Through the team’s excellent collaboration, Snoqualmie Falls will provide clean, renewable energy for another 100 years.”

The award was presented during the 2014 Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on January 24 in Bellevue, Washington. Kleinfelder provided construction management services including comprehensive quality assurance, geotechnical and rock engineering support, materials engineering and testing, and a number of quality-control services. According to ACEC-WA, projects are judged on four criteria: exceeding client expectations; social, economic, or sustainable design considerations; originality; and complexity.

Kleinfelder. Bright People. Right Solutions.
Founded in 1961, Kleinfelder is a leading engineering, construction management, design, and environmental professional services firm. Kleinfelder operates from over 65 office locations in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The company is headquartered in San Diego, California. Poised for growth, Kleinfelder continues to provide high-quality solutions for our diverse client base. Visit or follow us on LinkedIn/Kleinfelder.