Officials Say Oroville Dam Is Ready for Winter Rains Despite Soaring Costs and Cracks on Surface

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Reconstruction continues in a race to shore up the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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In the coming months, the Oroville Dam will face its first big test since a crisis earlier this year forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents below its mangled spillway.

Officials have been planning for the coming of the winter rains at the nation’s tallest dam and are confident it can handle heavy rain and snow runoff from the Sierra without interrupting the extensive reconstruction of its main spillway, which was damaged.

Costs have climbed and cracks have appeared on the surface along the spillway, but officials this week downplayed those issues.

Project leaders and Department of Water Resources officials said that hairline cracks that have been found on a portion of the newly built concrete spillway are “not a concern” and that the patched-up structure can handle winter rains if necessary.

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