Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lake Powell and Page Arizona writes the following about the Glen Canyon Dam which resulted in the creation of Lake Powell:

On October 15, 1956, the first blast occurred and the construction of Glen Canyon Dam was officially underway. Before that date, the site was virtually inaccessible and construction crews were forced to drive 200 miles to cross from one side of Glen Canyon to the other.

The remote location was selected for the project by a group of Bureau of Reclamation engineers and geologist working from 1946 to 1948. The site met several criteria: the area forming the basin could contain an immense amount of water; the canyon walls and bedrock foundation were strong and stable enough to safely support the high dam; and a large source of good rock and sand was available at nearby Wahweap Creek.

By 1959, the Glen Canyon Bridge was completed permitting the trucks to deliver equipment and materials for the dam and the new town of Page Arizona.

The next year concrete placement began and continued night and day until the final bucket was dumped three years later. A bucket held 24 tons of damp concrete and it took over 400,000 of them to build the dam. Over five million cubic yards of concrete make up the dam and power plant -- that's equal to enough to build a four-lane highway stretching from Phoenix, Arizona to Chicago, Illinois. Construction began on the 3,700 foot dam with blocks of concrete 7.5 feet high.

Next, turbines and generators were installed from 1963 to 1966. The dam was dedicated by Ladybird Johnson on September 22, 1966. It took 17 years for lake Powell to completely fill for the first time.

The plant generates more than 1.3 million kilowatts of electricity with each of the 40-ton steel shafts turning at 150 rpm, generating nearly 200,000 horsepower. With all eight generators operating at full output, over 15 million gallons of water will pass through the power plant's penstocks each minute. The electricity is upgraded on a transformer deck from 13,800 volts to 230,000 and 345,000 volts for transmission to distant markets.

During the evening we took a dining cruise on Lake Powell.  With the boat moving, the waves, the wind and lack of light at that time of day all resulted in rather poor quality 3D photos.  Below is the only photo I took that evening which I consder worth posting.

Next post (tomorrow I hope) we visit Horseshoe Bend, just South of Glen Canyon Dam.

Comments and feedback always welcome.

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