A $52 million project to install a series of new anchors, together with concreting work, is set to begin in March at Bagnell Dam and Osage Energy Center in St Louis, Missouri, US, Ameren Missouri has announced.

The 18-month project – which was reviewed and certified by independent engineers as well as the federal government – will see construction crews install 68 new post-tension anchors to help hold the dam to the underlying bedrock. Concrete will also be added between the highway piers to add weight to the dam, and a new concrete overlay will replace worn and cracked concrete on the east and west sections.

The last major structural update at Bagnell Dam was completed in the early 1980s. At the time, 277 post-tensioned anchors were installed to hold the dam into the bedrock.

"These post-tension anchors were the best technology at the time," said Warren Witt, director of hydro operations at Ameren Missouri. "They have performed very well since they've been installed and the dam remains structurally sound.

"This [new] project is about keeping this vital asset providing clean energy in the long-term, using the best possible engineering available today," he added. "Osage Energy Center just marked its 85th year in service. Work we're starting in March will ensure it operates reliably and safely, affording the quality of life for hundreds of thousands who enjoy all that the Lake of the Ozarks has to offer each year."

Over the past 10 years, Ameren has been developing best practices and spearheading initiatives to inspect the integrity of post-tension anchors, which Ameren engineers will now implement as part of this project. As a result of Ameren's innovative work, steps have been taken in several countries, including as far away as Australia, to enhance dam safety.

As part of its safety protocols, Bagnell Dam is inspected annually by an independent safety engineer.