Work on Greenup Lacks and Dam to begin in June

Published:

LLOYD, Ky. (AP) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say work to replace a set of aging gates at the Greenup Locks and Dam on the Ohio River will begin in June.

The $12 million project will replace the upriver set of hydraulic doors and will close down the 1,200-foot-long main lock chamber on the Ohio River between Greenup County, Ky., and Lawrence County, Ohio, for about 12 weeks.

Project manager Mike Keathley told The Independent (http://bit.ly/HtcNkN) that all river traffic will have to pass through an auxiliary chamber, which will take more time. Keathley says crews are making preparations to ease congestion while the main lock is under construction.

"Those activities are closely coordinated with stakeholders, especially the navigation industries because they rely so heavily on this project, and the commodities that are shipping through this Greenup Locks and Dam are so important not just to the regional economy, but on a national level," he said.

The newspaper reports that the Greenup Locks and Dam is one of the country's 10 busiest inland navigation locks -- 56.4 million tons of commodities moved through the lock in 2010.

Lockmaster Eric Dolly says it usually takes about an hour for a towboat and its barges to pass through the main lock. He says that time could be doubled or tripled while the auxiliary lock is used.

The lock system was constructed in 1959 and has already outlasted its life expectancy, according to Corps officials. In recent years, the main lock has been closed a number of times for unexpected and costly repairs. The most recent closure happened in 2009, when an arm holding the 240-ton miter doors in place snapped and the door fell to the river's bottom. Repairs took about 30 days.

Dolly said the structure was the first high-lift lock built on the Ohio River.

Keathley said the corps plans to replace the hydraulic gates on the downstream side of the river in 2014. He said the replacements will "greatly improve the reliability of this lock chamber."

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Information from: The Independent, http://www.dailyindependent.com