Columbia River Shipping Closed
by Eric Adams
Navigation halts for river commerce
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Dalles Dam has been shut down because of mechanical problems, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The dam's lock was malfunctioning Tuesday afternoon, prompting the dam's closure to river traffic heading upstream and downstream, a Coast Guard spokesperson said.
Army Corps of Engineers divers were in the water Wednesday to inspect and survey the dam for any structural weaknesses, according to spokesperson Diana Fredlund.
"Our engineers are working to determine the exact problem and what action is needed to correct it," said Col. Steven R. Miles, Portland District commander. "Our priority is safety - the safety of our employees, shippers and the public. We understand how important the navigation lock is to the shippers who transport their goods and commodities on the Columbia River.
The lock has been used for more than 50 years and shows continued wear and tear, Miles added.
River traffic would be closed until the repairs could be made.
Officials said the lock would be closed for an extended repair period in December 2010.
More than 12 million tons of commodities are shipped through The Dalles Dam lock from Portland to Lewiston, Idaho, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
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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