Cheatham Dam

Nashville District
Published Jan. 11, 2024
River with a navigation lock.

Cheatham Lock photo

Illustrated diagram of a river navigation lock

Cheatham Lock diagram

black and white turbine room

Turbine room photo

Cheatham Dam is located in Cheatham County, Tenn., on the Cumberland River at mile 148.7 about nine miles downstream of Ashland City.  It is about 42 miles downstream from Nashville.

Cheatham Dam was authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act and approved July 24, 1946  by Public Law 525.  Inclusion of hydroelectric capability was authorized by Public Law 396 approved June 19, 1952.  The dam was dedicated in 1954, and the hydropower plant began producing power in May 1958, reaching full production in 1959. 

The navigation lock chamber is 110-feet wide and 800-feet long and has a 26-foot lift. The dam has a concrete gravity type spillway, is 495-feet across with seven tainter gates, and the power plant is 306-feet long and contains three hydropower units rated at 12.000 Kilowatts  each.




The hydropower plant features three Westinghouse generators.  Each generator produces 12 megawatts, 13,800 volts, 60 cycles, with a total potential output of 36 megawatts capable of powering 23, 400 residential homes at maximum output, with an annual average capability of powering 15,000 residential homes.

Each generator has a vertical kaplan type turbine (Newport News) capable of generating 20,000 horsepower at 60 rpm and discharge rate of 7,400 cubic feet per second. The switchyard distributes power to Clarksville, Dickson and Springfield, Tenn.