Existing Project. The authorized project provides essentially for a channel 9 feet deep and 200 feet wide from the mouth of the Tombigbee River, 45 miles above Mobile, to the vicinity of Birmingham, via the Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers, to mile 430.4 on Sipsey Fork, mile 429.6 on Mulberry Fork and mile 407.8 on Locust Fork, and for maintenance by snagging of Mobile River above the mouth of Chickasaw Creek, a total waterway distance of about 408 miles. The total lift of 255feet is accomplished by six locks and dams. The original construction program, consisting of 17 dams and 18 lifts, was completed in 1915. Replacement of the original structures with new locks and dams, under the modernization program is as follows: William Bacon Oliver replaced locks 10, 11, and 12; Demopolis replaced locks 4, 5, and 6; Armistead 1. Selden replaced locks 7, 8, and 9; Coffeeville (Jackson) replaced locks 1, 2, and 3; and Holt replaced locks 13, 14, 15, and 16. Thus 16 of the original locks have been replaced by five new locks. Bankhead Lock and Dam (Lock 17) rehabilitation to replace the original double lift lock with a single lift lock was completed in 1980. Replacement of the old Oliver Lock has been completed and is located 2,300 feet downstream. Lock dimensions are 110' X 600'. The Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge on Coffeeville Lake is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was authorized in 1960 and includes 4,250 acres within the reservoir and along its boundaries. In conjunction with the realignment project on the existing navigation project plans are to construct a spur canal (named Jackson Port at Jackson, AL) 9 feet deep, 290 feet wide and 680 feet long.
The existing project was authorized by various
River and Harbor Acts, 1884-1986.
Replacement of obsolete structures was authorized by the 1909 River and Harbor Act.
Progress: Work on the project commenced in l887,was essentially completed in l9l5.Since then three of the original locks and dams (1 0, 11 and 12) were replaced by William Bacon Oliver (Tuscaloosa) Lock and Dam which was opened to navigation in August 1939; three original locks and dams (4, 5, and 6) were replaced by Demopolis Lock and Dam which was opened to navigation in August 1954; three original locks and dams (7, 8, and 9) were replaced by Armistead 1. Selden Lock and Dam which was opened to navigation in October 1957; three original locks and dams (1, 2, and 3) were replaced by Coffeeville Lock and Dam which was opened to navigation in August 1960; and four original locks and dams (1 3, 14, 15, and 16) were replaced by Holt Lock and Dam which was opened to navigation in June 1966. Rehabilitation of the spillway at John Hollis Bankhead Lock and Dam commenced in 1966, and physically completed February 6,1970. Replacement of the double lift lock with a single lift lock at John Hollis Bankhead Lock and Dam commenced in April 1970 and was completed in 1980. The power plants at John Hollis Bankhead and Holt Locks and Dams were built and are operated by the Alabama Power Co. The new Oliver Lock and Dam was completed in 1992.
Cost of Construction:
$253,786,856 (includes $606,931 for previous projects, $1,046,211 for recreation facilities on completed projects, $52,292,880 for major rehabilitation costs at Bankhead and includes $59,949,192 contributed funds.
Controlling Depth - 9 feet.