Wednesday, December 21, 2016

1944 TVA Kentucky Dam, Lock and 233netMW Powerhouse

(Bridge Hunter; B&T, BlogSatellite, Tim Priest must have had a rather wide-angle lens because his photo captures over half the length of the dam.)

  • Construction of Kentucky Dam began in 1938 and was completed in 1944.
  • The dam is 206 feet high and 8,422 feet long.
  • Kentucky Dam is a hydroelectric facility. It has five generating units with a summer net dependable capacity of 223 megawatts. Net dependable capacity is the amount of power a dam can produce on an average day, minus the electricity used by the dam itself.
The Kentucky Dam and Lock is the furthest downstream dam on the Tennessee River, and it is the longest at 8,422 feet. Its height of 206 feet creates the largest lake east of the Mississippi with 2,064 miles of shoreline and about 160,300 acres of water surface by backing up the river 184 miles. To maintain the 9-foot depth required for commercial traffic (barges and their towboats), the winter target elevation is 354 feet. The summer target is 359'. The record flood level was set May 4, 2014, at 372.5'. The top of the gates are at 375', and the TVA requires that permanent structures be built at least 381' above sea level. The record low was 348.02' on March 11, 1961. Construction started in 1938 and construction must have continued during the war because it was completed in 1944. The reservoir finished filling in 1945. (KentuckyLake/facts)

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The dam is so big that it is hard to get an overview picture from the ground. This is the control structure and hydroelectric plant. You can see a couple of the cranes on the left that are working on the new lock.

Its five generating units can produce 184 megawatts on an average day. They have a Kaplan turbine out in the parking lot of the visitors center. Below is an image of the sign that is in front of the turbine. There is a better version of this graphic and other power related images in KentuckyLake. Each turbine/shaft/rotor assembly weighs 220 tons.

Even though the Visitor Center was remodeled in 2012 and the sign says "open 7 days a year," there was a sign on the Visitor Center's door indicating that it was closed until "further notice." I discovered that the centers are open except during high security alerts. (Is this link now, 20161220, broke because the center is open?) But I have not found out how to get a "further notice" and thus whether or not it would be worth trying to visit the center during later trips.

The control room is empty because the dam is run from Chattanooga. "It had been raining for days and the head technician, Jeff Ring, was upset with 'Chattanooga' because they had the spillway gates open even though the reservoir had not reached its capacity. The technician said 'We’re spilling without making power. We’re losing money by doing that'" [DailyYonder]

When the road reaches the top of the dam, there is a parking lot. So I got out and...
...took a picture to the right of the landfill portion.
Then an overview to the left. I walked away from the parking lot so you see the road curve up onto the rock faced part of the landfill. In the background near the right you see the cranes working on the new 110x1200 foot lock. Scanning the background to the left we see the control structure of the dam, the four electric lines carrying electricity to where it is needed, and the bridge that helped move US-62/641 off the dam to allow construction of the new lock.
I then walked back to th parking lot as close to the water's edge as I could get. I'm used to seeing just one or two Extra High Voltage lines leaving a power plant. Four smaller lines reminds me that 1) this plant does not generate much power (199 Mw, brochure) and 2) the consumers are smaller towns spread across a large geographical area.
We then got back in the car and drove over the dam.
This allows you to get up close and personal. But we took pictures from the car because I was not going to stop in these skinny lanes.

They have another parking lot down by the spillway because the Visitor Center is on the left of this photo. Note the two gantry cranes near the middle. They can roll across the top of the spillway and raise and lower the gates. The gantry crane on the left is a lot bigger than this view shows.
So I include a side view of that crane. This crane rolls across the type of the power plant.
I used a satellite image to confirm my theory that there is a hole in the roof above each of the five units so that this crane can be used to lift the generator, shaft, and turbine of a unit for maintenance/replacement work.
Just as I was so focused on the dam that I didn't get decent pictures of the railroad bridge, I didn't get a good picture of the switchyard next to the parking lot. Fortunately, it was in the background of this picture of the Kaplan turbine.

Zooming in allows me to count 11 discs in an insulator. My notes near the end of power lines indicates 12 discs handle 230kv. So the four lines leaving this switchyard are around 210kv.
The gates are not the normal Tainter gates I'm used to seeing in river navigation dams. They look like sluice gates. The river flow was low when I visited because only three of the five hydro units were running. So none of the spillway gates were open. But in this picture below taken during the 2011 record flood, they are open. Since the gates are not visible, they must be lowered down inside the concrete spillway instead of the normal technique of raising the gate. (Update: my current theory is that none of the gates were opened. They were allowing the water to spill over the gates and thus force the level of the river to go up. That is because the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers were also flooding and they wanted to maximize the amount of flood waters that were stored in this reservoir.)

If they want a partial opening of the spillway, they probably open a few gates all the way and leave the others shut. (Update: this was confirmed by a photo of the McNary Dam.) That would also be less labor intensive because the gantry crane would have to visit each gate just once. On the Mississippi, Illinois, and Ohio Rivers, I'm used to each gate being raised a foot at a time so they are normally pretty even. Here is an example from the Newburgh Dam. But those gates each have their own electric motor, and it is just a matter of flipping a switch in the control room to move a gate.

If you look at the third picture in Scout, you will see one gate of the Barkley Dam is raised significantly more than the others to fine tune the flow.

Michael Davis posted three photos with the comment: "TVA’s Kentucky Dam near Paducah, Kentucky."



Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook posted
Back on October 10, 1945, U.S. President Harry S. Truman formally dedicated Kentucky Dam along the Tennessee River at Gilbertsville, KY. The dam stands 206 feet tall, is 8,422 feet long, and creates a reservoir (Kentucky Lake) that stretches 184 miles south into Tennessee.
The dam was built about 100 yards upstream from IC's drawbridge across the Tennessee River. This drawbridge was built in 1904-05 and replaced an older bridge dating back to the 1870's.
During construction of Kentucky Dam the IC's Kentucky Division mainline was rerouted atop Kentucky Dam. The new route atop the dam opened to train service on Nov. 2, 1944. The attached photo was taken early that morning, prior to the arrival of the first train, northbound passenger train 102, with Lewis "Pop" Cofer at the throttle, making his last run after a 61 year career that began in 1883 with the Chesapeake Ohio & Southwestern Railroad. A portion of the old IC drawbridge is visible at far left.
Numerous changes have been made to Kentucky Dam over the years. A highway was added to the side of the dam, then a few years ago the highway and railroad tracks were relocated to new bridges below the dam so the locks at Kentucky Dam could be enlarged

Mark Worley posted two photos with the comment: ""
Ben StalveyGroup Admin Sweet 4100 ringer

Robert Barlow Jr posted
Bill Molony posted
Bill Molony posted
Raymond Barr I remember on one long ago Sunday drive crossing over the dam and getting up close and personal with a freshly outshopped steamer and caboose. Could practically smell the fresh paint on both of them.
Rick Tapio commented on Bill's post
My take. Ca 1974.

One of the photos posted by Dave Durham
I found these pics in a 1940s era IC Employee manual on benefits entitled "This Is Our Railroad ". 

Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook posted
Illinois Central 2-10-2 2743 heads southbound (by timetable direction) across Kentucky Dam in 1948. As part of the Kentucky Dam construction program, in 1944 IC's tracks were rerouted from a drawbridge below the dam, and onto the dam itself.
This photo was taken several years before US 62 was built on the side of the dam. Of course, neither the railroad nor the highway cross the dam now. About 10 years ago both the railroad and highway were rerouted to new bridges below the dam, to make way for enlargement of the locks at Kentucky Dam.
Rick Smith: The Corps of Engineers pieced together a new bridge at for the NC&St.L around 1945, using the towers, lift-span ( from the old dismantled IC bridge. Erected alongside Highway US-70 at New Johnsonville, TN, after the impounding of land for the Kentucky Dam flooded the old Johnsonville, it remains operational.

TribuneCourier, paycount 3
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Chippewa, an inland buoy tender, passes through the Kentucky Lock on Tuesday. U.S government vessels are given first priority in locking.   DAVID ZOELLER | The Sun

The projects to add a 1200' lock here and to build the Olmsted Dam started in 1998. But the Olmsted Dam hogged the funding until it was finally finished in 2018. "The current total project cost of the Kentucky Lock Addition is $1.23 billion, with $540 million spent to date. The forecast for completion is Fiscal Year 2029, Corps officials said." In 2021 the wait time was 12 to 13 hours. The new lock should provide a 0 delay.

Paul P Dauk Jr posted
Route 62 over Kentucky Lake Dam.
Ben Stalvey 4100 Ringer nice find

Tim Egner That is 41909. 1995 model
Ben Stalvey Wow one of the last ones built.

Matt Howell Johnson brothers ringer I’m a mechanic on that job we just put a new motor in it a little over a month ago.
Derik Wolfe Matt Howell is it a nice machine? For sale asking a lot?
Matt Howell It’s not a bad rig we have put a lot of time into it new power plant new boom brake new hydraulic pump and motor new brakes on front drum and some more miscellaneous work over the past two years it is for sale but I honestly don’t know what the asking price is I'm not in the loop on that part
Derik Wolfe Matt Howell there asking a lot for it. It’s been for sale for 4 years or so. But the serial number is appealing. But not that appealing

Jeff Forde Don’t buy it!! I ran that machine for two years!🥴 it needs a lot more work Matt!
Matt Howell Jeff Forde since you left we have done a lot of work to it it’s actually turned into a pretty decent rig we fixed the swing issues it had so no more banging around it’s honestly not the same crane that you had run when you were here
Jeff Forde Matt Howell still not being GREASED
Matt Howell Jeff Forde yes besides the shives in the mast they won’t invest in an automatic greaser for them but anytime we have it down we grease the shit out of them

Timothy Mccarty commented on Paul's post
Ben Stalvey wow 2 ringers
Timothy Mccarty Ben Stalvey that was about 4 years ago in Kentucky.Tyler Ford Tim it's still in kentucky at kentucky dam. I'm on that job right now. Not working for them but for another company thats on site. The red ringer is a 95 model. They sent the black one back to Florida when the bridge job was done where this pic was taken. I'm can't remember exact but I believe the black ringer is a 71 or 72. I oiled on both these units for a little bit.

Ben Stalvey shared
888 and Manitowoc 4100

Ben Stalvey shared
Them Manitowocs are all around the world

Kentucky Lock posted seven photos with the comment: "Lots of #sunshine today for ongoing excavation work at the #Kentucky Lock Addition Project on the Tennessee River in Grand Rivers! #NashvilleCorps is building a larger #navigation lock at the Tennessee Valley Authority project! 📸 Lee Roberts"
Pickwick Lock shared
David Gulden shared
Craig Bohannon: Day late and a dollar short. Tonnage has been slowing on the Cumberland and Tennessee river for years.
National District posted a slightly different collection of photos.
David Gulden shared another collection of TVA photos. [Some of the comments talk about the waits to go through. One said they had to wait 48 hours several times.]







safe_image for LOCKED IN: Lock and dam system integral part of inland waterways [paycount 3]
David Zoeller | The Sun
Excavation work continues on the site of the main chamber of the planned new 110-foot by 1,200-foot lock being constructed next to the existing 110-foot x 600-foot one, part of the Kentucky Lock Addition project.

"According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kentucky Lock is the third highest priority lock project in the U.S. It serves as a gateway to the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers that comprise 29% of the Ohio River basin and carry 57 million tons annually valued at more than $10 billion."
[Barkley Dam, not this dam, is the gateway for the Cumberland River. So who made that mistake? The reporter or USACE?]
"The current total project cost of the Kentucky Lock Addition is $1.23 billion, with $540 million spent to date. The forecast for completion is Fiscal Year 2029, Corps officials said....'This year [2021], we’re sitting at a 12 to 13 hours per vessel of delay time,' said Caleb Skinner, navigation manager....Skinner said there are four basic categories of vessels locking through. They are, in order of priority: U.S. government vessels; pay-for-hire passenger vessels; commercial industry vessels (the bulk of those seen at Kentucky Lock); and recreational vessels."

Pickwick Lock shared Kentucky Lock post of three photos.



PaduchaSun,  [paycount 3]

David Gulden posted
Scott Jackson: I kind of miss that lock always at least a 2 day wait lol.

Nashville District posted
Navigation Notice 21-47: Repairs to the damaged miter gates at Kentucky Lock is underway with a non-related closure of the lock for work on the gate machinery. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District had hoped to reopen traffic at the navigation lock from Nov. 14-29 [2021] to alleviate the queue at Barkley Lock. The team has determined that it is not safe to operate the miter gates in their current state of repair, making this temporary reopening impossible. Repairs to one of the two damaged gates will be completed during this closure with a follow-up closure pending for the other miter gate. Also, the Tennessee Valley Authority and USACE engineers have determined that operation of the miter gates should cease once the headwater elevation reaches 362 MSL until the water recedes or until both gate leafs are repaired. Kentucky Lock will remain closed until Dec. 10, 2021.
[So what damaged the gates?]
Pickwick Lock shared
I guess this canal near the Kentucky and Barkley Locks allows a tow to use either lock.

Feb 23, 2022: TVA posted
After heavy rainfall across the Tennessee River Valley, nearly 1.2 million gallons of water rush over Kentucky Dam's spillways and through generating turbines every second. Kentucky Dam is the last dam before the river empties into the Ohio River. Over the past few days, rainfall totals ranged from 2-4 inches, with the high spot near Lexington, TN. Currently, 8 of 9 dams are in spill operations. Lake levels will rise at tributary dams as we continue to store water.
Mike Trawick: What's the cfs ? Gallons are impressive but river folks want cfs.
Bart Hudson: 1.2 million gallons equals 160416.5901 cubic feet.
Pickwick Lock shared

The upper miter gates were replaced in 2016 for a cost of $6m by C.J. Mahan.


Jim French posted a 1987 photo with ICG locomotives pulling a freight across the dam. The comments discuss some rail to barge transloading operations in the area.

This PDF file describes the construction of the new lock.

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