Town Bluff Project Lake Information

Sunset

The purposes of the Town Bluff Dam / B. A. Steinhagen Lake / R.D.Willis Powerhouse are to reregulate the intermittent power releases from Sam Rayburn Reservoir, provide head for hydroelectric power and diversion into a water supply canal, and provide some water storage.  The Southwestern Power Administration, U. S. Department of Energy, markets the power and energy generated by the hydropower plant to the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency for distribution to its customers in Jasper, Liberty, and Livingston, Texas and Vinton, Louisiana.  Water releases are utilized by the Lower Neches Valley Authority in Beaumont, Texas, for rice culture, salinity control, pollution abatement, municipal, and industrial uses.

The Town Bluff Dam is a compacted earth structure with a concrete section in the river channel. The Dam has a total length of 6,698 feet, a maximum height of 45 feet, and the crown at the top of the dam is 25 feet wide.  The controlled spillway is 240 feet long, and flows are controlled by six gates, each measuring 40' by 35'.  The uncontrolled spillway is  protected by reinforced concrete, and is 6,100 feet long.  Water tops the uncontrolled spillway at elevation 85 feet above sea level (NGVD). 

The Robert D. Willis Hydropower Project construction started in March, 1987 and the hydropower facilities became available for commercial operation on 17 November 1989.  The hydropower project is a first-of-its-kind partnership between private enterprise and the U. S. Government in that the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency (SRMPA) paid for the entire project in advance, rather than reimbursing the Federal Government over the life of the project.