A work crew installed a 249-ton hydropower rotor this week at Center Hill Dam in Tennessee, US, culminating weeks of safety preparations to lift and maneuver the heavy load into position.

With the safe installation of the rotor, the US Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District and contractor Voith Hydro expect to finish rehabilitation of hydropower unit two in mid-July once its final assembly and load testing are complete.

Jerry Lee, project engineer for the Center Hill Turbine Generator Rehabilitation Project, praised Steve Rodriguez, the crane operator responsible for moving the rotor from the power plant’s gallery and placing it into the hydropower unit.

“This is not something we do every day. This is the largest component in the turbine generator. It’s a capacity lift for this crane,” Lee said.

Since the project began in September 2015, the contractor has rebuilt the generator’s rotor, overhauled the shaft, and replaced the stator, stator coils, wicket gates and turbine, which now features an aeration capability designed to add oxygen to the water to benefit the aquatic life downstream of the dam.

The hydropower unit at Center Hill Dam is the first of 28 units at nine projects that will be rehabilitated. The Nashville District awarded a $47.25 million contract to Voith Hydro in June 2014 to rehabilitate three Center Hill Dam hydropower units. The contractor mobilized to the dam in July 2015 and began the rehabilitation of unit two. Unit one will then be rehabilitated followed by unit three.

Kye Moss, A.J. Conley, and Dustin Woods, Voith Hydro work crew, prepare a 249-ton rotor before lifting and installing it in hydropower unit two at Center Hill Dam in Lancaster, Tenn., June 19, 2017. (USACE photo by Leon Roberts)