Lake Thurlow to get much needed upgrades

Lake Thurlow to get much needed upgrades
Beginning next week, Alabama Power plans to lower Lake Thurlow in Tallassee by nearly 10 feet from its normal level. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

TALLASSEE, AL (WSFA) - Beginning next week, Alabama Power plans to lower Lake Thurlow in Tallassee by nearly 10 feet from its normal level.

They will be updating the spillway gates to allow for better water control.

"When we put the Obermeyer System in we are hoping that we can actually keep the pond level full all the time," said Thurlow Dam Plant Superintendent Joel Johnson.

The lake's current spillway gates were installed in the 1920s. After the project is complete, the current wooden gates they have will be replaced with some newer ones. The new gates will be made of steel and are going to have inflatable bladders to control when the gates open and close.

"When we put that in we'll be able to operate the spillway automatically and we'll be able to control the pond level," Johnson said.

They're hoping the new gates will match the design of the original dam.

"Alabama power, working with the University of Alabama and the Alabama Historical Commission, came up with a design to match what's currently existing," said Alabama Power Southern Division Area Manager Mike Jordan.

The upgrades will come at a hefty price.

"We're projecting $16 to $17 million," said Johnson.

It will also take some time to finish. The multi-phase project will begin on Monday. Phase one will wrap up at the end of October and phase two will begin next June and will be completed by next October.

This drawdown will only affect Lake Thurlow. The water levels of other bodies of water, including Lake Martin, will not be lowered for this project.

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