Saturday, February 29, 2020

MWRD: CS&SC Extension, Creating a 40' Head for the Lockport Powerhouse

(Satellite)

(Update: A lot more photos of the newer USACE lock are here. Those notes also have some videos from tows going through the lock.)

More about this photo later.
20140614 0259

Satellite
When the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal (CS&SC) opened in 1900, it terminated at a control structure north of 9th Street at Lockport, IL.
Satellite
There was a 160' bear trap gate in this gap to fine tune the flow of water out of the canal into the Des Plaines River to maintain the proper water level in the canal. That gate has been removed because the powerhouse now provides the day-to-day control of the water level. The sluice gates are still intact in case flood waters need to be released from the canal.
There is about a 40' drop in the land between this control structure and the confluence of the canal with the Des Plaines River just south of the CN/EJ&E Bridge. This drop is why the I&M Canal had its first four locks between just north of Division Street and north of the CN/EJ&E tracks.

To take advantage of this 40' drop, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), then known as the Chicago Sanitary District, made a canal down the slope by building concrete walls on both sides with earth fill on the sides. This 3D view shows the east dike.
3D Satellite
And here is a view of the drop of the land along the west dike.
USACE-facebook
Now we have the context needed to explain the top photo. That photo was taken from the bus that was driving along the west wall to take us to a tour of the powerhouse. I knew we were driving along a high wall, so I was trying to get photos that showed the height. I also knew, from taking photos in the Rocky Mountains, that it is hard to show height from above. Here are the rest of the photos I took on this part of the trip.



On the trip back to the parking lot, I took a photo looking South when we were on the 9th Street Bridge to capture what I thought was a rather high level of the Des Plaines River. The blue on the left is the higher level of the canal.

Or maybe the river is always this high.
Street View, Oct 2019
I also got a view of nature taking over some sunken barges.

Satellite
While taking some photos of a towboat, I caught a view that shows the canal level higher than the surrounding land. Of course, it is not as high at the 9th Street Bridge as it is at the powerhouse and lock.

It is worth noting that dikes were used at the original terminus of the CS&SC so that the base of the control structure would be above the Des Plaines River to maximize the flow from the canal to the river during floods. The MWRD must have been really worried about being able to divert flood waters because, when the extended the canal in 1903, they added a butterfly dam near the beginning of the extension. Note two contour lines coming close together near the end of the original canal, especially on the east side.
1954 Joliet Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
Those two contour lines continue down to Division Street. I've read that the dikes were 15' tall at 9th Street.
1954 Joliet Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
Starting at Division Street, more contour lines are added. That makes sense because the I&M Canal locks are along this stretch.
1954 Joliet Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
Although I think the big pile of contour lines on the west side of the canal south of the powerhouse is a mistake.
1954 Joliet Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
On the right of the photo below, we see the west wall of the USACE lock. In the background, from right to left, is the tall, narrow gates for the old  22' x 120' x 34' lock, the current control structure and the powerhouse.
HAER IL-164-H-10

MWRD posted
Construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) extension near Lockport, Illinois, on March 26, 1904. When the CSSC was completed in 1900, it ended at the Controlling Works near Lockport. The Sanitary District of Chicago (now MWRD) built the extension to Joliet to allow for complete navigation from Lake Michigan to the Des Plaines River via the CSSC, effectively replacing the I&M Canal. The Lockport Powerhouse is located at the midpoint of the extension.

MWRD posted
Workers pause for a photo while casting concrete blocks for the Lockport Powerhouse walls on October 25, 1905.

MWRD posted
A rock crushing plant is seen in this photo from October 25, 1905, reducing the size of excavated material during construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal extension near Lockport. The four-mile extension was excavated by the MWRD between 1903 and 1907, and included the construction of the Lockport Powerhouse, dam and lock, which are located at the mid-point of the extension. The area features an elevation difference between the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and the Des Plaines River of approximately 36 feet, which allows for the generation of hydroelectric power at the powerhouse. 

MWRD posted
A view to the south from a bridge at 9th Street in Lockport, Illinois, showing construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal extension on November 9, 1905.
Dennis DeBruler commented on the MWRD post
As they worked their way south, they didn't have to dig as deep, but they had to build a higher embankment on the sides of the canal.



MWRD posted
A rock crushing plant is seen in this photo from October 25, 1905, reducing the size of excavated material during construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal extension near Lockport. The four-mile extension was excavated by the MWRD between 1903 and 1907, and included the construction of the Lockport Powerhouse, dam and lock, which are located at the mid-point of the extension. The area features an elevation difference between the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and the Des Plaines River of approximately 36 feet, which allows for the generation of hydroelectric power at the powerhouse. 

MWRD posted
A view to the south from a bridge at 9th Street in Lockport, Illinois, showing construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal extension on November 9, 1905.
MWRD posted on Jun 28, 2022

MWRD
Construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal extension near the Lockport Powerhouse on May 14, 1906.

Dennis DeBruler commented on the MWRD post
As they worked their way south, they didn't have to dig as deep, but they had to build a higher embankment on the sides of the canal.

MWRD posted on Apr 20, 2022
Today's photo shows miscellaneous equipment and new train engines during construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) extension in Lockport, Illinois, on June 14, 1904. 

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