Wednesday, December 21, 2016

TVA Kentucky Lock and Tows

The Kentucky Dam currently has a 110x600 foot lock. It is a bottleneck because 15-barge tows have to be split in half to go through a 600' lock. In fact, a Bing satellite image caught the upstream gates closing after the front part of a tow had been winched out of the lock. And you can see the rear part of the tow below the downstream gates waiting for its turn. You can also see that they have built the cofferdam and have begun excavation for the new 110x1200 foot lock.
Google Satellite
A Google satellite image is more recent, and it shows that some of the walls of the new lock have been built. I believe there is just one barge in the lock in this image and that it hauls a liquid product. I have noticed before that liquid barges tend to be bigger than a normal materials barge.
20141218 0029c+0+40 3:17:24pm
The current lock is busy enough that we caught these two tows heading upstream as we drove over the dam to the Visitor Center. We were taking a picture of the railroad bridge truss and probably did not notice the tows until later. Below is a photo I had already taken of three 1200' tows parked upstream. (There are two tows parked side by side on the right.)

+30+<I forgot>
Satellite
Looking further upstream on the Google satellite image, I see there are four tows parked waiting for that liquid-products barge to finish locking through. There are also four coal barges tied up closer to the shore.

Later, after I had parked in the Visitors Center parking lot and was walking around is when I noticed the two tows heading upstream. You can look at the 3:17 photo above and compare to this 3:22 photo to see how far the tows have moved in five minutes.

c+0+40 3:22:44pm
As we left the dam, my wife took quite a few pictures from the US-62/641 bridge you see at the top of the above picture. I include the two yellow tower cranes that are helping to build the new lock. You can tell it is the same tow we saw in the previous pictures because of the two white barges in front. So 14 minutes later it is about to enter the lock. It took longer to cover the distance between the second and third photos than between the first and second photos because they slow down to less than a walk when they get close to the lock walls. The "blue bar" of the bridge's guard rail blocks seeing the joint between the second and third row of barges. It is obvious the tow has 15 barges, and it will have to be locked through in two segments.

3:36:04pm

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