US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District

NR 19-039: Public invited for tour of Cheatham Dam and Powerhouse

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published Aug. 16, 2019
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District invites the public for a free tour of Cheatham Dam Lock and Dam and Hydropower Plant on the Cumberland River in Ashland City, Tenn., 11 a.m. Central Time Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. The project is operated and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District. (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District invites the public for a free tour of Cheatham Dam Lock and Dam and Hydropower Plant on the Cumberland River in Ashland City, Tenn., 11 a.m. Central Time Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. The project is operated and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 16, 2019) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District invites the public for a free tour of Cheatham Dam Lock and Dam and Hydropower Plant in Ashland City, Tenn., 11 a.m. Central Time Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. The tour is limited to 45 people. Pre-registration is required for all tour guests, including minors. The deadline to register, provided there are still open slots, is seven business days prior to scheduled tour. Personal information collected during sign-up is used for security background checks.

Approximately one hour in length, the tour will begin at the Right Bank Recreation Area. After guest check in and a brief introduction, guests will walk to the lock. After viewing the lock, participants will walk across the spillway section of Cheatham Dam and into the power plant. Guiding guests through the facilities, Corps of Engineers personnel and volunteers will provide information about Cheatham Lake's unique history, project purposes, recreational opportunities, fish and wildlife benefits, as well as, an up-close look of the lock, dam and powerhouse facilities.

People who sign up are encouraged to read and follow all directions during the process of signing up. To sign up and for more information, go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080948a4a92eaafa7-cheatham1.

NOTE: You must provide full name, address, phone number, driver's license, state of issue, for every person 18 and over signed up for the tour. If it is not provided that person will not be allowed to participate in the tour upon arrival.

When signing up, each individual must sign up separately (one at a time) and have a different e-mail address. The website does not accept an e-mail address that has already been submitted. Do not attempt to add names of others, such as children, in a comment section - that is not accepted. When registering children, please put "None" in Driver's License field for those who do not possess them.

Tour Details and Rules

  • All participants over 16 years of age must provide photo identification upon arrival for the tour.
  • Only visitors with approval and confirmation will be permitted on the tour. No substitutions or additions are allowed.
  • Tour may last approximately two hours and requires participants to travel several flights of steps.
  • Visitors may not carry packages, backpacks, or other containers during the tour.
  • Photographs and video recording of the interior of the Power Plant is strictly prohibited.
  • No high-heel, open heel shoes, including clogs and Crocs or bare feet will be allowed on a tour. Tennis shoes are recommended.
  • All minors ages 16 and under must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or responsible adult during the tour.
  • Any increase in threat conditions may result in an approved tour being cancelled with little notice. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.
  • All guests should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the tour time for check in.
  • All facilities are NOT ADA accessible. Every effort will made to accommodate any need that is known in advance of the tour.
  • An e-mail will be sent to anyone signed up for a tour if for any reason a tour is canceled.

Directions        

Cheatham Dam Powerhouse
1799 Cheatham Dam Road
Ashland City, Tennessee 37015-9805

From Ashland City, Tenn., take TN-12 North for 7.5 miles. Turn left onto Cheatham Dam Road for 2.2 miles to Right Bank Recreation Area. Turn right for 1.5 miles - arrive at Cheatham Lock. Sign will direct to parking area and tour starting area.

Background

Congress authorized the Cheatham Lock and Dam Project in 1946 as a navigation unit of a comprehensive plan of development for the Cumberland River Basin. The dam is located in Cheatham County, Tenn., on the Cumberland River at mile 148.7 about nine miles downstream of Ashland City.

The original purpose of this water resources development project was to replace three smaller, aging locks built at the turn of the century: Lock A at Cumberland River Mile 150.6, Lock 1 at Mile 188.4, and Lock 2 at Mile 201.0. The ideal construction site was about nine miles downstream of Ashland City at River Mile 148.7, just 42 miles below Nashville.

In 1952, Congress added authorization for the production of hydroelectric power as a project function. The lock, dam, and power plant were designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and built by private contractors under Corps supervision. Construction started in April 1950, and the lock was opened to navigation in December 1952. The project became fully operational with the completion of the third generating unit in the power plant in November 1960.

The hydropower plant features three Westinghouse generators. Each generator produces 12 megawatts, 13,800 volts, 60 cycles, with a total potential output of 36 megawatts capable of powering 23, 400 residential homes at maximum output, with an annual average capability of powering 15,000 residential homes

Cheatham Lake covers 7,450 acres and has 320 miles of shoreline. The lake is a "run-of-the-river" type that operates basically on normal stream flow. The Corps uses as much of the inflow as practicable for hydropower generation. The dam was not constructed to provide a designated capacity for regulating floodwaters. Therefore, during periods of heavy rainfall and high stream flow, the spillway gates are opened to pass waters in excess of the capacity of hydropower turbines.

(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can also follow Cheatham Lake on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cheathamlake.)


Contact
Lee Roberts
615-736-7161
chief.public-affairs@usace.army.mil

Release no. 19-028