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More Locks Problems Upstream

by US Army Corps of Engineers
The Columbian, March 18, 2011

High water delays reopening of Snake River locks

(Andy Porter) Tour participants look over the edge of Lower Monumental Dam's cavernous navigation lock during a tour Wednesday. It was a rare opportunity to see the structure almost completely empty of water. Portland, OR -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Portland and Walla Walla districts alert commercial and recreational mariners that it is extending the closure of the Columbia-Snake rivers navigation lock system due to unforeseen delays.

Work on Lower Monumental Dam's downstream lock gate replacement experienced unforeseen delays due to recent high winds and rain, resulting in additional time needed to complete the work. Walla Walla District officials adjusted the lock's reopening date to 5 p.m. on March 26.

The recent weather at the dam kept the new metal surfaces wet, affecting conditions for sandblasting and painting the new gate and completing fit-up, welding and installation of the seal-framing assemblies. The gate cannot be placed under a cover to keep it dry because of its large size and the need to move the gate frequently during painting and welding to access the bare-metal end plates.

The final steps in finishing the gate involve precision work which must be done individually in a prescribed sequence, so the new gate's seals will align properly with the existing lock structure.

At the John Day lock, workers are making final adjustments to the new navigation lock gate components. Engineers anticipate that the lock will open to river traffic at 11:59 p.m. on March 20.

The Dalles navigation lock is being tested to ensure a proper fit to the new navigation lock gates. If tests scheduled for March 22 reveal the gates are not fitting together properly, additional adjustments may be needed, which would require dewatering the lock in order to access the lower portion of the gates. At this time engineers anticipate that the navigation lock will open as planned at 11:59 p.m. on March 23; however if the additional time is required, work would delay The Dalles opening until 11:59 p.m. on March 25.

Operation of the Bonneville navigation lock has been significantly curtailed due to damage to the upstream gate incurred March 17. The lock was scheduled to reopen to all traffic at 11:59 p.m. today. For additional information on the curtailment of operations at Bonneville please see the Portland District news release PA-11-016 at

Four other locks in the Walla Walla District are in service, providing passage for commercial shippers and recreational boaters. Lower Granite, near Pomeroy, Wash.; Little Goose, near Starbuck, Wash.; Ice Harbor, near Burbank, Wash.; and McNary, near Umatilla, Ore., took advantage of the available time without river traffic to accomplish additional lock work that would ordinarily exceed the annual two-week winter maintenance outage. Outage periods for those locks ranged between 5-9 weeks with various closing and reopening dates.

Related Pages:
Extended Navigation Lock Outage US Army Corps of Engineers

US Army Corps of Engineers
More Locks Problems Upstream
The Columbian, March 18, 2011

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