The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather


    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower


    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships


    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

2 months ago

Alabama Power volunteers pedal and paddle to support a cure for multiple sclerosis

(Meg McKinney/Alabama NewsCenter)

Two events to raise money for multiple sclerosis (MS) research have brought in almost $8,000 for the cause, with donations still coming.

Alabama Power’s Power Pedalers cycling team and the Alabama Power Service Organization hosted a “Dam Ride” to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Cyclists began the ride at Alabama Power headquarters in downtown Birmingham and ended the journey at Lay Dam in Clanton.

The company also hosted a kayaking event with a $5,000 fundraising goal. Organizers said they expect to exceed that mark.


“Our state has so many opportunities to be active while taking in the beauty it has to offer,” said Jim Heilbron, Alabama Power senior vice president and senior production officer. “Cycling and kayaking are just two terrific ways to not only enjoy our state but also give back to such a worthy organization like MS.”

MS is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body, according to the MS Society. Nearly 1 million people are living with the disease in the U.S., with at least two to three times more women being diagnosed than men.

Andy Bell, president of the National MS Society Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi chapter, said the work of organizations like Alabama Power is essential to the society’s work.

“As the National MS Society celebrates 75 years of progress in 2021, we are most grateful for the creative efforts of corporate partners like Alabama Power who ensure that our momentum towards a cure continues with force,” Bell said. “The fundraisers and volunteers who participate in The Dam Ride and Kayak MS are the lifeblood of our organization’s important work. The National MS Society is most grateful for their collective efforts that move us closer to a world free of MS.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 year ago

Recent heavy rains continue to affect Alabama Power lakes

(Nik Layman/Alabama NewsCenter)

The heavy rains that fell this week are continuing to affect several Alabama Power lakes.

Smith Lake on the Black Warrior River and Weiss Lake on the Coosa River have risen above their summer levels. While Weiss Lake’s rise has slowed, Smith Lake is expected to continue coming up through the weekend. Its level is not expected to peak before the next round of rains, which are forecast for next week.


Alabama Power opens spillway gates at dams to control rising lake levels from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Since Feb. 10, Alabama Power lakes in the Black Warrior, Tallapoosa and Coosa river basins have seen an average of 3.5 inches of rain, which has fallen on already soggy ground and swollen creeks.  Since the beginning of February, an average of 8 inches of rain has fallen in these same basins, which is well above normal.

Most of north and central Alabama are still vulnerable to river flooding following this week’s rains, and many areas remain under a flood watch or warning, according to the National Weather Service.

Lake elevations are always subject to change. With all the recent rain, and more to come, individuals with boats and other water-related equipment and facilities should stay alert to changing conditions on Alabama Power reservoirs and be prepared to take steps to project their property.

For more information about Alabama Power lakes and updates on lake conditions, download the Smart Lakes app for your smartphone or visit Individuals can also call 1-800-LAKES 11 (1-800-525-3711) for the latest.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 year ago

Heavy rains continue; Alabama Power lake levels rising

(Alabama Power/Contributed)

Heavy rains last week elevated Alabama Power lake levels, and rain this week is expected to push up lake levels even further in some locations.

Nearly 4 inches of rain has fallen in parts of the Warrior, Tallapoosa and Coosa river basins so far in February.  And more wet weather is in the forecast – an additional 3-7 inches through Sunday.

Most of north and central Alabama remain under a flood watch through Tuesday evening.


Heading into this week’s rain event, some Alabama Power storage reservoirs on the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Black Warrior rivers were already at levels higher than normal for this time of year. Spillway gates are operating at some dams, and more spillway gates are expected to be opened as rains continue.

Weiss and Logan Martin lakes on the Coosa, as well as Smith Lake on the Black Warrior River, are expected to exceed summer levels this week.

Also, because of the heavy rains, the first Renew Our Rivers cleanup planned for this year has been rescheduled, from Feb. 15 to June 6. The cleanup was scheduled to take place on the Alabama River at Swift Creek Landing in Autaugaville.

In addition to the low-cost power provided by Alabama Power’s hydroelectric dams, storage reservoirs like Weiss and Smith lakes give Alabama Power the ability to help manage the flow of water during times of heavy rain.

“One of the benefits of our storage reservoirs is the ability to lessen the impact downstream during high-flow events,” said Alan Peeples, reservoir management manager for Alabama Power.

Lake elevations are always subject to change. With all the recent rain, and more to come, individuals with boats and other water-related equipment and facilities should stay alert to changing conditions on Alabama Power reservoirs and be prepared to take steps to protect their property.

For more information about Alabama Power lakes and alerts on lake conditions, download the Smart Lakes app for your smartphone or visit Individuals can also call 1-800-LAKES 11 (1-800-525-3711) for lake condition updates.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

and 2 years ago

Alabama’s Lake Thurlow to refill with new spillway gates

(Dennis Washington/Alabama NewsCenter)

Lake Thurlow is coming back up following completion of a two-year project to replace spillway gates at Thurlow Dam.

Lake levels are scheduled to begin rising on Tuesday, Oct. 29, reaching normal full pool by Thursday, Oct. 31.

The drawdown was needed to replace the dam’s 36 spillway crest gates, known as flashboards, which were installed in the 1920s. The replacements, called Obermeyer gates, are more efficient than the old system and will provide greater control to manage water resources, according to Thurlow Dam Superintendent Joel Johnson.


“These new gates will allow us to maintain better control of the water flow over the spillway,” Johnson said.

Alabama Power worked with the Alabama Historical Commission and the University of Alabama to research Thurlow Dam when designing the new gates. The dam was built on site of an early 19th-century textile mill.

The new design will feature four spans that operate independently across the top of the dam but will mimic the historic look of the original dam. Decades ago, local boosters promoted Thurlow Dam as the “Niagara of the South” for the way the Tallapoosa River spills over the dam when all the gates are open.

“With this project, we wanted to do our best to make sure the improved Thurlow Dam keeps its historic look and feel. This will resemble the Thurlow Dam we all know and remember,” Johnson said.

The work was done over the summers of 2018 and 2019 to take advantage of drier weather.

Alabama Power reminds individuals with boats and other water-related equipment and facilities to always be alert to changing conditions on company reservoirs and be prepared to take necessary steps to protect property.

Learn more about Alabama Power’s hydro projects at

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)