Little Goose Dam
by Matthew Weaver
Additional repairs on the navigation lock at Little Goose Dam near Starbuck, Wash.,
will delay its return to service by at least a week.
Reopening of a navigation lock at Little Goose Dam near Starbuck, Wash., has been delayed at least a week, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The lock was originally scheduled to reopen March 20.
According to the corps, reasons for the delay include difficulty removing a pin on the operating cylinder and jacking system placement in early January, the extreme winter weather and cracks that appeared on the gate structural members, requiring additional weld repairs.
The corps will provide an update to stakeholders during a phone call March 14, said Gina Baltrusch, corps spokeswoman in Walla Walla, Wash.
"We understand the effect this has on the navigation community," Baltrusch said. "We know they need as early a decision as possible to make changes to their own plans. We're going to keep them informed as we continue to get more information. We are doing everything we can to minimize this delay."
Randy Olstad, general manager of Columbia Grain at Clarkston, Wash., said the delay has an effect on his company, but he understands the need to have the locks repaired so they will last for years to come.
Columbia Grain planned for the worst and hoped for the best in preparing for the closure, so no adjustments are yet needed, Olstad said. He credited the corps with keeping stakeholders informed.
"Do I want to see another delay?" he said. "No, but do I understand it? Yes."
If the delay is extended further, the company may have to make some adjustments, Olstad said.
Olstad said weather has slowed vessel loading in Portland, so he doesn't expect the delay to cause too much of a problem.
"The environment's always changing, so a week from now, I might be very upset, but as it stands today, I'm understanding and hoping they get it done as quickly as they can," he said.
The lock was taken out of service Dec. 12 as part of system-wide maintenance. Bonneville lock and dam reopened Feb. 9 as scheduled. The Dalles, John Day, McNary, Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental and Lower Granite locks and dams are scheduled to return to service March 20, according to the corps.
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