The new Big Cherry Dam in Wise County, Va.—featuring 13,800 cu. yds. of roller-compacted concrete—impounds the Big Cherry Reservoir, the water supply for the town of Big Stone Gap. Photo: Portland Cement Association

A new dam in Wise County, Va., makes use of roller-compacted concrete (RCC) as a flood-fighting structure.

The Big Cherry Dam replaced a 70-year-old structure, which had been classified as a high hazard impoundment by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Studies showed the dam would be unstable during maximum flood. Officials elected to replace it with a 70-foot-high dam, situated 165 feet downstream of the previous structure.

The dam includes 13,800 cu. yds. of RCC. Construction on the project began in April 2004 and ended two years later, when the old dam was submerged and the first spillway overflow event occurred. The new dam offers greatly increased water storage, reservoir safe yield, and spillway capacity.