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Record-Breaking Boat Ramp on West Point Lake

Steve Lynch (left) with representatives from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Management Section and Troup County Engineers

When the 100 best bass anglers come to Georgia every year for the Bassmasters Elite Series West Point Lake Battle, they launch their boats from a record-setting ramp.

In 2010 civil engineers with the Troup County road department, working with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, designed and installed the 160-foot-long, three-lane ramp that had to be created and then pushed into place, because much of the ramp was under water. The 324-ton structure was the largest boat ramp ever moved into a body of water. Installation of the boat ramp required the combined efforts of three Cat D7s pushing the concrete structure with two Cat D6s behind the row of D7s pushing steel beams affixed to the boat ramp for additional push power and slab buckling resistance.

The ramp contained 150 cubic yards of reinforced concrete, which was poured on top of corrugated sheet metal. The sheet metal sat on top of three layers of plastic. Forty-five gallons of vegetable oil were poured between the layers of plastic to allow it to move easily during the push, which took only three and a half minutes.

To prepare for the ramp, a Cat 325 excavator was used to grade underwater, but only as far as it could reach in the water. County engineer James R. Emery Jr., P.E., said from that farther out in the water, the bottom was brought up to grade with #57 stone, placed with a hopper on a barge.

“This was not something that we could get a full complete design with all specs and details up front,” Emery said. “It was something that we really designed as we went along. A lot of adjustments to the plan were needed all along the way. It was a real unique project.”

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