By Don Ford

CALAVARAS DAM (CBS SF) — The largest California reservoir project in 20 years has reached a significant construction milestone and uncovered a treasure trove of unique artifacts.

The new Calaveras Dam construction in the East bay has reached a giant milestone. After five years the spillway is finally finished. The spillway is designed to better direct overflow. But the remainder of the new dam is still being built. It replaces the smaller and older dam.

Dan wade, director of water system improvement program, at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said, “This replacement project is to build a earthquake safe dam.”

When you move nearly 7 million yards of rock, you’re bound to find some surprises: like fossils.

John Rocca, field operations supervisor, said, “We’ve got whales and whale bones, and shark bones and things like that we found up on the hill up here.”

That’s not all they found. The original construction crews, nearly a hundred years ago, buried a lot of stuff on their way out: piles of mule shoes and wheels from wagons and other old tools.


One day, they found something shocking.

“We also found old unused packs of dynamite. The geologist were looking at it, picking at it with their hammers and we were like, ‘Whoa,'” Rocca said.

But after being buried in the dirt and mud for nearly a hundred years, the Alameda Bomb Squad declared the sticks harmless.

The dam replacement project is projected to cost $810 million

Engineers say that in about three years the dam will stretch completely across the entire canyon.

When it’s finished, the Calaveras Dam will be the largest SFPUC reservoir in the Bay Area.