Knightville Dam is located on the Westfield River in Huntington. From Westfield, it can be reached traveling west on U.S. Route 20 to Huntington, then north on Route 112.
In conjunction with the dam at Littleville Lake, Knightville Dam provides flood protection to Huntington, Westfield, West Springfield, and other communities on the Westfield River. Knightville Dam also helps to reduce damages along the main stem of the Connecticut River.
Construction of the project began in August 1939 and was completed in December 1941 at a cost of $3.3 million. Route 112 was relocated to accommodate the project. The project consists of an earthfill dam with stone slope protection measuring 1,200-feet long and 160-feet high; a gated circular concrete conduit founded on bedrock 605-feet long with a diameter of 16 feet; and a curved chute spillway cut in rock with a 410-foot-long concrete weir. The weir’s crest elevation is 20 feet lower than the top of the dam.
There is no lake at Knightville Dam. The flood storage area of the project covers 960 acres and extends about six miles upstream through Huntington and Chesterfield. It is normally empty and utilized only to store floodwaters. The project and all associated lands cover 2,688 acres. Knightville Dam can store up to 15.97 billion gallons of water for flood control purposes. This is equivalent to 5.6 inches of water covering its drainage area of 162 square miles.
The Reservoir Control Center (RCC) is the "nerve center" for the New England flood risk management dams such as Knightville Dam. Using radio and satellite communications, the team constantly monitors river levels and weather conditions that influence flood control decisions. Corps personnel, in conjunction with RCC regulate the amount of water released downstream by raising or lowering the three gates located in the gatehouse at the dam. In a time of high water, the gates are lowered in order to hold back the water, only to be released when downstream river conditions begin to recede.
In April 1987 a flood similar to that of 1936 occurred. Heavy rains fell on a deep snowpack causing rapid melting and run-off. Knightville Dam held back a record amount of flood waters. For only the second time in its history, water flowed over its spillway scouring a channel down to bedrock. However, Knightville slowed down the flow of water reducing serious flooding problems in communities downstream along the Westfield and Connecticut Rivers. This project has prevented $335.9 million in flood damages since it was built (as of September 2011).
For up-to-date information call (413) 667-3430 or visit the website at: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/KnightvilleDam.aspx.
- Updated: 5 April 2016