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Posted 6/30/2017

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By John Barker
USACE Mobile

MOBILE, Ala. - Recent upgrades by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, at Holt Dam, near Tuscaloosa, Ala., will mean increased safety for workers and a reduction in repair costs. The spillway gates will also be more reliable. 

“The reliability of the gates is critical to the lock operators being able to pass flood waters and appropriately manage the elevation of Holt Lake,” said James Curry, assistant operations manager for the Tuscaloosa Project Management Office.  “Independent gate travel stops were also installed as an additional measure to prevent spillway gates from opening more than designed.”

The Corps Motor Vessel Lawson was brought in to set spillway stop logs so that the gate travel stops could be set and calibrated. Contract maintenance workers replaced the two main electric power feeders that extend the length of the spillway. Workers at the dam reworked the 14 panel boxes, one at each gate, and replaced all components of the control boxes including installing new load-circuit breakers, brake transformers, control-power transformers and all new wiring.

“We also installed 14 new control boxes, Curry said. “The new control boxes include new push-button controls and digital readouts. For safety, two fused disconnects were installed on the outside each panel box providing a safe primary lockout point for workers when they need to access the inside of the panel box.              

“As a result of the upgrades, workers will be able to work more safely while making repairs,” he said.  Also, there will be a reduction in the number of malfunctions and repair costs and the operation of the spillway gates will be more reliable.” 

Outdoor lighting on the spillway and the high mast was replaced with LED lighting. 

“We've now replaced outdoor lighting at five of the Black Warrior-Tombigbee River Basin’s six locks,” Curry said. “The result has been a reduction in power usage of 15-30 percent annually at each lock and dam.”

“We have recently accomplished similar spillway electrical upgrades at Coffeeville Lock and Dam on the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway and at Millers Ferry Lock and Dam on the Alabama River Waterway,” said Danny Hensley, Operations project manager Tuscaloosa Project Management Office.