‘Single most important infrastructure asset in the area’
Billed by one Tuscaloosa City Councilman as the single most important infrastructure asset in the area, Lake Tuscaloosa covers 6,000 acres and was created by the impoundment of North River, a major tributary of the Black Warrior River.
Since its creation, the lake has become a major area for recreation and residential development. More importantly, it continues to serve as the primary water source for a growing population of more than 200,000 in the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan area.
Neel-Schaffer (then Almon Associates) conducted hydrologic and hydraulic studies and was responsible for all engineering design and construction review and inspection for the new lake.
Additionally, the firm supervised road and bridge relocations, performed all surveying and mapping, and prepared all legal descriptions and property acquisition plats. In recent years, Neel-Schaffer has performed dam safety inspections that have involved substantially lowering the lake level and preparation of a hydroelectric generation feasibility study.
The project was designed to produce a uniform draft of 200 MGD. Major features include a 1,280-foot rolled earth structure, 130 feet high from bedrock with a normal operating head of 99 feet, side channel spillway, intake structure and transmission mains. The twin aerators, located immediately below the dam, provide oxygen saturated water that has been a major factor in improving water quality downstream in the Oliver Pool of the Black Warrior River.