Wilson Dam
Wilson Dam is on the Tennessee River near Florence, Alabama.
The marker says it best:
We were anxious to see the lock lifting 100 feet. We didn't realize it wasn't the only lock.
This is a view of the river-side of both locks. In the foreground is the original double lock, in the background the newer single lock. The newer lock is larger (besides having more lift) to accomodate more barge traffic.
This view from the north end of the complex shows the bridge over the locks, which eventually "lands" on the dam to complete the trek across the river.
Now this was strange! This is the lake side gate of the new lock.
The river side gate looked more conventional...just taller!
A look back at the older double lock.
A nice view of the floodgates, and the bridge "landing" on the dam.
No wonder they call this section of the river The Shoals.
At the south end, the dam and powerhouse. Note the Semi on the dam for a size reference. At the end of the powerhouse you can just make out some new generators...apparently the new ones are weatherized and don't require a surrounding structure.
The switchyard. Not a little one: Wilson is capable of over 500 Megawatts, TVA's most powerful conventional hydro plant.
An obviously retired impeller from one of the turbines. Now you know why there is always a crane handy! As we were coming back over the north side, we noticed the lock had been emptied! Were we going to be able to see it in action? We whupped the truckster back into the parking lot!
The lake side gate. We were starting to get an idea of how it might work. Turns out we guessed right. We came across a TVA employee who confirmed than the gate is lowered to the supports below, and traffic goes over it. When the new lock was built, three flood gates had to be taken out. There was concern that the reduced capacity might not be enough during extreme flood conditions. So, the new lock was designed so that it could be emptied, the river side gate opened, then the lake side gate lowered enough to allow flow to make up for the three lost flood gates. It was only tested once, and it worked...too well! They almost overwhelmed Pickwick Dam downstream. Since then it has not been needed, but its nice to know the capacity is there.It would be a little rough on river traffic though...
And we did get lucky; Next page illustrates barges locking through.