The Dalles Lock Will Remain Closed
by Michael Russell
The lock at The Dalles Dam will remain closed to Columbia River traffic at least through Saturday, officials said today.
Crews plan to begin draining the lock this evening, said Diana Fredlund, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Working on an "aggressive schedule," the site should be dry and ready for inspection by Friday, she said.
"It's like a big bathtub except you can't open the drain," Fredlund said.
Fredlund said a pintle bearing, which enables the lock to open, has been a problem for three years. Engineers decided this week it was best to shut it down so they could take a closer look.
The Corps has hired Advanced American Construction, an industrial and diving services contractor, to weld cracks and fix any mechanical problems found in the lock, Fredlund said.
In the best-case scenario, crews can make repairs quickly and begin refilling the lock with water, which should take less than 24 hours.
Meanwhile, at least seven tugs and one cruise ship have been stuck on the river since the lock was closed Tuesday afternoon.
Passengers on the Spirit of '98 cruise ship, anchored near The Dalles, are "sleeping on board," said Jerrol Golden, a spokeswoman for Cruise West, which operates the multi-day cruise. "There's plenty of food."
As a contingency plan, passengers will get off the ship and continue the tour by bus, missing at least one day of their itinerary, Golden said.
Lock Repair: John Day Dam Back in Business by Staff, The Oregonian, 10/29/8
John Day Lock Under Repair by Staff, Wheat Life, 5/8
Domestic Waterborne Commerce, Army Corps of Engineers, Transportation Energy Data 1970-2002
Snake River Freight Army Corps of Engineers, Government Report
Snake River Commodity Tonnage Army Corps of Engineers, Data from 1990-2003
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