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Celebrating the life of Steve McCandless

Jul 2019

From our Garney family, it is with great sadness that we share the passing of Steve McCandless – a legacy and friend. Throughout Steve’s 39 years of service, he epitomized Garney’s goals and philosophies. Steve embodied exceptional work ethic, long-term commitment to his clients, partners, and fellow employee-owners, diligence for continuous improvement, and an unwavering passion to Garney. He was truly one of a kind.

Steve started his Garney career in 1979 and was quickly named Vice President. He was integral in shaping an employee-ownership culture of honesty, integrity, and excellence. Steve retired in June of 2018, leaving a profound impact on the company’s success.

“There is a tacit understanding that no future player could ever live up to the number of a legend, whether it be on the field or off.”

It was an honor and a privilege to know Steve. Our thoughts and prayers are with the McCandless family during this incredibly difficult time.


Garney Constructs First of Its Kind Tunnel Rearmoring

Jul 2019

In a highly rural area, at the base of one of the tallest mountains in the lower 48 states, the Mud Mountain Dam towers over the White River in Enumclaw, Washington. Constructed at the base of Mount Rainer in the 1940s by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), it was the tallest rock/earthen dam of its time at a height of 430 feet.

Two tunnels channel the river around and under the dam. A 9-foot-wide tunnel passes normal flows and relieves the pressure of debris buildup on the backside of the dam. The debris flows consist of 2-foot diameter boulders flowing at velocities as high as 75 feet per second. The flat bottom, high carbon steel liner began to develop multiple scour holes after a decade of use and required maintenance repairs one to two times annually.

Awarded the first project of its kind in North America, Garney and our engineering partner, ILF, proposed an innovative approach to reline the tunnel using granite blocks rather than steel. This extended the design life to 40 years and reduced overall construction and capital lifecycle costs.

Garney adopted the concept of using granite for Mud Mountain Dam from the Pfaffensprung tunnel in Switzerland instead of using steel. This tunnel served as a basis for information and inspiration for the alternative granite proposal to USACE.

Garney performed all construction work on the site to line 1,685 linear feet of the 1,800-foot tunnel. A 4-inch layer of cellular concrete was installed over the floor, drains, and alarm system. Precision-cut granite blocks were installed tightly together in a specific sequence on top of the cellular concrete. The scope required dewatering, 1,600 linear feet of 3″ bypass pumping, and temporary power. The main challenge included the logistics of getting the required materials in place.

Check out this video to learn more about this forward-thinking project.


Garney Joins Water Design-Build Council

Jul 2019

As collaborative delivery has taken a stronghold in our industry, the need to create consistent best practices has generated multiple organizations that provide resources to owners, engineers, and contractors.

Originally formed in 2006, the Water Design-Build Council (WDBC) is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to advance the development and rehabilitation of the nation’s municipal water and wastewater systems through the use of the design-build and construction management at risk (CMAR) methods of project delivery.

Comprised of engineering and construction leaders in the industry, Garney is excited to now be a part of the council helping shape the future of collaborative delivery.

Learn more about North America’s leading educational resource for best practices in water design-build delivery on the Water Design-Build Council’s website

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