Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric river dam that spans the Yangtze River in Sandouping, Yichang, Hubei, China. It is the largest hydro-electric power station in the world.
The total electric generating capacity of the dam will reach 22,500 megawatts per day(enough to power 22,500,000 North American homes). Because several generators are yet to be installed the dam is not expected to reach its full capacity until 2011.
The dam is around 27 kilometers(17 miles) upstream from Yichang city, a 40 minute drive. It is a phenomenal architectural achievement that the entire country is proud of. The dam wall is made of concrete and is about 2,309 meters(7,575 ft) long, 101 meters(331 ft) high, 115 meters(377.3 ft) thick at the bottom, and 40 meters(131.2 ft) thick on top.
In November l997, the first stage was completed with the blocking of two-thirds of the river's width. The water level had risen about 70 meters(230 feet) through 2003, and is expected to rise another 40 meters(131 feet) by the end of 2011 when the full dam becomes operational. Smaller ships will use a single stage lift to pass the dam while larger ones make use of a stair of five locks. The water in the Three Gorges will rise a total of l l0 meters(36l feet), gradually changing the scenery forever.
Taking an excursion to visit the dam is an absolute must for tourists to the area. Visitors are usually allowed to climb up to the top to get a 360 degree and on a clear day can get a complete view of the enormous dam, huge reservoir, and beautiful mountain scenery. But take note that visitors may be banned during major public holidays such as Chinese New Year and the National Holiday. Displays in the Information Center will provide an overview of the whole project.