Alabama Power Company's Weiss Dam
Weiss Dam was constructed on the Coosa River near Leesburg, AL, and began service June 5, 1961. This is one of the more unusual dams we have bagged: the concrete gated spillway is about 4 miles from the power house. That's not so unusual for a diversion dam, but Weiss is not your usual diversion dam. The dam consists of a specified 392 feet of concrete gravity structure, and 30,406 feet of earthfill dikes. That's right, the dam is almost 6 miles long! Maximum height was given as 126 feet. The river is diverted through a one mile canal to the forebay.
The backside of the spillway is visible from US411 as it crosses the lake, and if you turn onto Cherokee County Road 7 from US411, you will cross the spillway. There is a parking area on the left just across the spillway, where we got this shot. Through the tree right-center you can see some of the earthen dike that makes up most of this dam.
Continue down County Road 7 to County Road 20, hang a right, and a couple of miles later you will reach the powerhouse. Here more of the dike is visible. The sign says tours are available "by appointment"; we doubt that anymore, but we might give it a shot next time we are in the area. This is not too far from Desoto State Park, one of our favorites.
The Power House has three turbine/generator assemblies, each rated at 29.25 Megawatts for a total capacity of 87.75 Megawatts. The transformers are on the structure above the draft tubes: I just realized I didn't get a shot of the switchyard! Since this is a Southern Company plant, the transformers are probably 115 KV.
A look down the tailrace channel, back to the original riverbed.
The Southwest end of the dam, about a couple of miles from the power house. There were actually some structures on the lake side of this dike, so this is obviouisly meant for the worst case flood! Thus far we haven't found any flood control stats for this dam.
As you come back to US411 on County Road 7, you can see the dike as it continues to the northeast on the other side of US411.