Monday, May 24, 2010

Kerr Dam / Flathead Lake, Mt.

If you are in Western Montana, take a side trip to Kerr Dam on the Flathead river just south west of Polson, Mt. I have started and every other day exercise program on the steps to the over look. Jog these 3 to 4 times every other day and get buns of steel. Read on for more history and photos of the dam below.

Standing fifty-four feet taller than Niagara Falls, Kerr Dam is a very interesting place to visit. The dam was started in 1929, by Rocky Mountain Power and although the actual construction time was three or four years, because of the lack of money during the depression, construction was halted a few times before the had the dam ready for operation in 1938. The dam has influenced the economy from the beginning. It produces power from Kalispell to Missoula and produces electricity for irrigation and improved farm productivity.

Kerr Dam was built as a gravity dam, which is a solid concrete structure with triangular cross sections. The dam is thick at its base and thinner towards its top. When seen from the top it is slightly curved and the upper side of the dam is vertical. It depends primarily on its own weight for stability and has the least maintenance compared to arch dams, buttress dams, or embankment dams.

It is the largest electrical generating power plant in the Montana Power Company system. The dam is 204 feet high, 450 feet long at the top, 100 feet long at the base, containing 85,000 cubic yards of concrete. The dam storage of water amounts to 1,217,000 acre/ft. The water is kept at an elevation between 2,883ft and 2,893ft above sea level. Its total capacity is 190,000 kilowatts, or 190 mega-watts. (Bergman & McAlear). When the dam was finished it consisted of one powerhouse and on generator. According to Lloyd Turnage, one of four employers, the dam consists of three generators and one powerhouse.

Kerr Dam is located eight miles south of Polson on the Flathead River