US Army Corps of Engineers
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Public Notices

Notice of intent to develop Programmatic Agreement for National Historic Preservation Act for the Kentucky Lock Addition Project

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District
Published April 17, 2020
Expiration date: 5/18/2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority intend to update the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 3001001 et. seq.) compliance for the Kentucky Lock Addition Project.  In 1992, the Corps, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and Kentucky State Historic Preservation Officer (KY-SHPO) executed a Memorandum of Agreement to address the Lock Addition Project pursuant to 36 CFR 800.  An updated Programmatic Agreement would reflect updates to 36 CFR 800 since 1992 and changes in the project plans. The Corps serves as the lead federal agency pursuant to 36 CFR 800.2(a)(2).

The Tennessee Valley Act of 1933 authorized the Kentucky Lock and Dam (L&D), and the Independent Office Appropriations Act of 1938 provided funds for construction in 1939.  The TVA owns the Kentucky L&D; however, USACE operates the navigational locks.

Located at Tennessee River Mile 22.4 the major components of the Kentucky L&D include the dam, hydroelectric plant, and lock.  The dam stands 206 feet high and has an overall crest length of 8,422 feet.  It is a straight reinforced concrete gravity-type spillway dam with 24 gates.  The powerhouse, located on the east end of the concrete dam, contains five 44,000 horsepower adjustable-blade, propeller turbines, each connected to a 32,000-kilowatt generator.  An earthen embankment on the eastern end of the dam separates the powerhouse and dam from the lock.  The lock chamber measures 110’ x 600’ long.  The original plans for Kentucky Lock included a future auxiliary lock that would be located east of the main lock and measure 60’ wide and 360’ long.  

In 1992 a Feasibility Study justified the construction of a 110’ x 1200’ lock chamber to be constructed to the east of the existing lock.  At that time, USACE, TVA, and KY-SHPO entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to address adverse effects to the Kentucky L&D project.  On August 11, 2017, the Kentucky Hydroelectric Project was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Due to inconsistent funding, the completion of the lock addition has been delayed.  Currently, consistent funding is expected to allow completion of the lock addition in 2026.

A new Programmatic Agreement would supersede the current Memorandum of Agreement.  The Programmatic Agreement would stipulate consultation requirements specific to the lock, mitigation measures to address the adverse effect, and update the agreement to align with current regulatory guidelines. 

If you would like to comment or request to participate in the development of the Programmatic Agreement, then please contact Valerie McCormack, Archaeologist, valerie.j.mccormack@usace.army.mil or 615-736-7847 by May 18, 2020.