This morning, we were at the Interpretive Center at 9:30 AM for our 10:00 AM Powerhouse Tour. At 9:55, our tour guide, Dan, came to collect us. Since no one else signed up, we had a personal tour - and it was AWESOME!
The only downside is that we could not bring any camera inside - .
We started the tour with time in their museum on the history of the dam and Fort Peck. From there we went inside Powerhouse One, Then Powerhouse Two, and then a tour of the outside and the tunnels.
The four tunnels were started in 1934; completed in 1937; and initially used as diversion tunnels as the dam was built. Each tunnel is over one mile long, steel lined, and over 24 feet in diameter. All the steel tubing used for the tunnels was bolted and welded together and a 3-foot concrete lining placed outside of them. Each tunnel has an intake tower and is capable of carrying the normal flow of the river without help from the other three. Each tunnel has an emergency control shaft and a main control shaft. Control gates are located near the axis of the dam, housed in reinforced concrete shafts that extend upwards to the ground surface. Concrete structures house the electrically operated control machinery. In 1941, Powerhouse one construction began. It was completed in 1951 and contains 3 turbines. Powerhouse two construction started in 1958; completed in 1959 and contains two turbines. The total average annual power generation is 1.1 billion kWh - WOW! And all hydro generated.
More information can be found here: http://www.fortpeckdam.com/
After our tour, we drove to a few of the overlooks. This one was the Lewis and Clark overlook:
View of the dam and the four intake towers for the tunnels:
The road over the dam:
Fort Peck Lake:
The spillway for the lake is located three miles from the dam. The spillway is more than 800 feet wide with 16 steel gates. The concrete chute is a mile long and it tapers to a width of 120 feet at the bottom. Each of the gates are 25 feet by 40 feet and weigh 80 tons each.
The bottom of the Spillway:
The spillway is only used during extremely high water levels, and has been used just five times in its history: 1975, 1976, 1979, 1997. and 2011.
Check out the motorhome in the middle of the picture - what a view!