Replacing a Historic Turbine

NorthWestern Energy’s Hauser Dam is a hydroelectric facility on the Missouri River 14 miles northeast of Helena. This original steel spillway was under construction starting in 1905 and completed in 1907. A year later, it failed. A second, 700-foot long and 80-foot high concrete spillway reopened in 1911 and is still in existence today.

The project required Morrison-Maierle to replace the old horizontally-designed turbine with a new vertically-designed version in the powerhouse that was built in the early 1900s. In order to design a space for the new vertical turbine, the team tried to use the 1900-era drawings, which had to be pieced together and were minimal at best.

Morrison-Maierle’s surveyors combined some old and new methods to create a clear picture of the dam’s interior. Due to the unique nature of this project, they adopted some creative measures to provide a clear picture for the design team.