As one of the largest commercial concrete contractors in the country, we are always interested in learning more about large, impressive projects both in the U.S. and across the globe. The last several decades has seen several extremely large dams built throughout the world.
Back in 1935 when the Hoover Dam was finished, it was the tallest dam as well as the largest hydroelectric plant in the world for about thirteen years. While it still is listed among the largest 20 dams in the world, it has not been the tallest or largest for a while. Now record setting dams are rated according to the largest by volume, the tallest, and by production of the most hydroelectric power.
Currently, heading the list for the largest dam by volume of construction material is the Syncrude Tailings Dam in Canada. It is estimated that the dam required 706,320,000 cubic yards (540,000,000 cubic meters) of material to build and the structure is expected to grow larger as mining operations in the area grow. To compare, the Hoover Dam took 3,250,000 cubic yards (2,600,000 cubic meters) of concrete to construct. Another big difference is the Syncrude Tailings Dam is made from left over dirt from mining while the Hoover Dam is made of strong concrete.
Today the tallest dam in the world is the Nurek Dam on the Vakhsh River in Tajikistan. To compare, the Hoover Dam stands at 726.4 feet tall while the Nurek Dam is 984 feet tall. The Nurek generates hydroelectric power and has a power station with an installed capacity of 3,015 MW.
The largest hydroelectric dam in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW) is the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping in China. Constructed of concrete and steel, the dam is 7,661 ft. long with a height of 607 ft. above sea level. The project required 27.2 million cubic meters (35.6×106 cu yards) of concrete and 463,000 tons of steel to construct.
The Conco Companies are a leading supplier of concrete services for the Western United States. We have built a reputation on superior concrete formwork, reinforcing, place and finish, shotcrete and other ancillary services that benefit from our vast experience. We have four regional offices to serve Southern and Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado.