Cannelton Locks and Dam

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Cannelton Locks and Dam
Cannelton Locks Dam.jpg
Location Flag of the United States.svg Perry County, Indiana / Hancock County, Kentucky USA
Coordinates 37°53′59″N 86°42′21″W / 37.89972°N 86.70583°W / 37.89972; -86.70583Coordinates: 37°53′59″N 86°42′21″W / 37.89972°N 86.70583°W / 37.89972; -86.70583
Construction began July 1963
Opening date December 1966
Operator(s) United States Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District
Dam and spillways
Impounds Ohio River
Length 1,827 ft (556.9 m)

The Cannelton Locks and Dam is a concrete dam connected to two locks on the Ohio River at river mile 720.8. It is three miles (5 km) upstream from Cannelton, Indiana. The project was approved on January 27, 1960 by the Secretary of the Army under authority of Section 6 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, approved March 3, 1909, to replace the existing Locks 43, 44 and 45.[1][2][3]


The Cannelton Dam has two sections. The main section is 1,412 feet (430 m) long with twelve tainter gates. The gates are held between 15-foot-wide (4.6 m) piers. Each gate is 42 feet (13 m) high and 100 feet (30 m) long. Electric hoists on top of the piers are used to raise or lower the gates. At the end of the gated section of the dam there is second section, a concrete fixed weir on the Kentucky side of the river. The weir is 195 feet (59 m) long.


The Cannelton Locks run parallel to each other on the Indiana side of the river. There are two locks alongside the dam, the main lock which measures 110 feet (34 m) by 1,200 feet (370 m) and the auxiliary lock that is 110 feet (34 m) by 600 feet (180 m). The locks can be filled or emptied in around 8 minutes.

The upper pool is normally at an elevation of 383.0 feet (116.7 m), mean sea level and the lower pool elevation is 358.0 feet (109.1 m), mean sea level. The lift (difference) between the two pool is 25 feet (7.6 m). 25 million US gallons (95,000 m3) of water is required to operate the lock.

The locks reduce travel time because it enables large commercial tows to go through only one lockage rather than the three locks it replaced. Also the large lock chamber allows a large vessels to pass through the lock in a single operation instead of using smaller lock sections.


Cannelton Locks and Dam on the Ohio River near Cannelton, Indiana.

The construction of the locks began in July 1963. The locks began operation in December 1966 and were completed April 1967. Construction on the dam started in August 1965 and the dam was completed in 1974. The structure was designed, built, and is operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District.

There were 128 acres (0.52 km2) of overlook property that was initially built during the construction project. In 1995, the property was excessed to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for use as a wildlife habitat.


American Municipal Power (AMP) is currently outfitting the dam with three turbines to generate up to 88 megawatts of power, a project that will cost an estimated $416 million. [4]


  • Construction period (total): July 1963 – 1974
  • Construction cost: $98,040,000 million ($672,590,000 million adjusted for inflation)
  • Dam length: 1,817 ft (554 m)
  • Upper pool area: runs upstream 114 miles (183 km) to the McAlpine Locks and Dam.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Other Key Federal Legislation" - Rivers and Habors Act
  2. ^ United States Army Corp of Engineers - Cannelton
  3. ^ Perry County Indiana
  4. ^ "Hydroelectric dams may offer gateway to Ohio River's power". Retrieved 18 July 2012. 

External links[edit]