The Corps of Engineers' Old Hickory Dam
This dam is located on the Cumberland River in Hendersonville, TN, a suburb of Nashville (with the traffic to prove it!).
This was the first view we managed to get, on the back side. Access to this dam is severely limited anymore. You can't really see it in this picture, but there was a lot of trash behind the floodgates, so the dam was almost certainly spilling. We were beginning to wonder if we would be able to see it.
Then, finally, we got a view of the downstream side, although the lock was between us and the floodgates. The lock is 84 x 397 feet, lifting 60 feet between normal pools. Notice the extreme turbulence of the river. The powerhouse was generating full tilt and the floodgates were open.
The dam is a concrete gravity structure, supplemented with earth fill extensions, measuring 98 feet high by 3,750 feet long. The water management page implies the power capacity is a litttle better than 100 Megawatts with about 37,000 cfs through the turbines. The switchyard is adjacent the powerhouse.
Then we found a place up on the bank where we could barely see over the lock wall. Notice the turbulence at the base of the floodgates. On dams like this, where the bottom of the floodgates are basically at river level, this is what you see when the dam is "spilling". This dam has six tainter gates, each 45 feet wide and 41 feet high. The spillway can discharge up to 236,000 cubic feet per second.
Ya Think??!
We followed the road down to another parking area, where we finally got a clear view of some of the floodgates and the action.
In this closeup, notice that the floodgate next to the powerhouse is not open.
And our entertainment for the day: a Great Blue Heron was practicing his log rolling abilities!