In 1953, work begins on Bull Hook construction
November 15, 2013
(This is the second of a two-part series about Havre's Bullhook drainage.)
J. Kenneth Thayn Construction Co. of Salt Lake City was the lowest bidder and awarded the contract to construct the Bull Hook Unit of the Havre Flood Control Project. The Bull Hook Unit consisted of the construction of Bull Hook Dam, spillway, lower diversion dam, the Scott Coulee Dam, the channel to the Bull Hook Dam from the Scott Coulee Dam and other waterways in the area.
On Sept. 14, 1953, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Bull Hook Unit. An observation point was built "to enable residents in this area to watch the work in progress." The public was also warned to keep their vehicles away from the construction areas where the spectators would create a safety hazard.
In July 1954 a bridge was built on Beaver Creek Road crossing the channel connecting the Scott Coulee Dam with the Bull Hook Dam. Connecting the two made them operate as one unit.
A rainstorm in April 1955 tested the unfinished Bull Hook project. James King, resident engineer for the Corps of Engineers said, as the Havre Daily News reported: "In other words, there is about four times as much water coming into the dam as what is coming out. The dam is doing a good job. In the near future, a gate valve will be installed for control purposes."
Also, in the spring of 1955, runoff waters filled Bull Hook Dam, and the overflow went through the channels to the Milk River. There were no reports of damage done by Bull Hook.
In the fall of 1955, seven pressure relief wells were installed on the downstream side of Bull Hook Dam. They ranged in depth of 35 to 98 feet deep. The pressure relief wells are to relieve the water pressure and allow the excess water to be diverted to the channel.
On Feb. 6, 1956, the Army Corps of Engineers turned over the operations and maintenance of the Bull Hook Unit to the city of Havre. The Bull Hook Unit consisted of a dam on Scotts Coulee, Bull Hook Dam, a canal going from Scotts Coulee Dam to Bull Hook Dam, a channel along the eastern edge of Havre for the overflow to drain into the Milk River, and levees by the large coulees to protect against water runoff. These were located next to the channel.
A very big thank-you to Hill County Sanitarian Clay Vincent for providing some information for writing this article.