Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Winfield Locks, Dam and 14.76 MW Powerhouse on Kanawha River


I never heard of the Kanawha River until I saw Connie's post below. But it is big enough to not only have a waterway but to have some non-trivial truss bridges over it. I'll save the bridges for another day.

I wonder why this dam was originally built with two rather small locks. The tainter gate between the standard waterway lock and the two smaller locks is interesting. We can see from Connie's post that the main part of the dam uses roller gates. The original locks and dam were built in the 1930s with a cost of $6m. The new lock and gate bay were built in the 1980s and 90s with a cost of $277m. So this dam illustrates the evolution of gate technology from rollers to tainters. The damming height is 28'. The powerhouse has a capacity of 14.76 MW. "New Main lock is 110' wide by 800' long with miter gates. Twin auxiliary locks each of which are 56' wide by 360' long, with miter gates." [USACE]


It appears that they have a broken gate and that allows us to see how much the other gates have been raised.
Connie Bays posted
Winfield Locks and Dam, WV
Christian Townsend: Looks like the river is starting to run

Unfortunately, Lock and Dam #25 on the Mississippi River is also known as Winfield Lock and Dam. I finally found some search keywords to give me results for this dam.
Winfield Lock and dam is one of the essential navigation projects on the Kanawha River, used primarily for the shipment of coal and chemicals for the large industrial complex of Charleston. There are 5 recreation areas at the lock site, visitors center, overlook, observation areas, several nature/wildlife habitat ponds and over 1 1/2 miles of fishing acess. Recreation facilities are located in the pool area.
I had noticed this photo in today's, 3/2/2021, Chicago Tribune.
Chicago Tribune

So I checked out the hydrological data. The level of the river more than doubled in a little over 24 hours! This is an illustration of the dangers of rivers in mountain valleys.

 "A very swollen Kanawha River below the Winfield Locks. Some mighty big catfish in these waters and the tail waters of the dam along with the sandy river bottom create ideal habitat. Dan Robie 2011"

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