Army Corps: The Dalles lock cracks are ‘worse than we anticipated’

The following is the text of a press release issued Oct. 2 by the Army Corps of Engineers:
(THE DALLES, Ore.) — The Dalles navigation lock will remain closed for eight to 10 days as engineers repair the downstream gates, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today.
Engineers found extensive cracking on both sides of the lower portion of the downstream gate. An aggressive repair schedule will begin Friday night that includes welding and bolting plates to stabilize the gate.
“The situation is worse than we anticipated,†said Col. Steven R. Miles, Portland District commander. “The Corps team has completed its inspection and we have a team of engineers and welders working around the clock to repair the cracks.â€
“We understand how important the navigation lock is to the shippers who transport their goods and commodities on the Columbia River. That’s why we are working 7 days a week, 24 hours a day until the repairs are done,†Miles added. Despite these repairs, the lock will require continued monitoring and future repairs, Miles said. “Once the lock is repaired, we will implement a disciplined monitoring plan with additional sensors, regular inspections,†he added.
“The Dalles lock has been operating for 52 years. As expected, it is showing continued wear and tear. Two years ago we installed additional sensors to monitor any changes in the structure. Those sensors helped us diagnose this problem before it was too late to repair. The additional sensors will help ensure the integrity of the gates so it may continue to function.â€
The Dalles Dam is part of a system of navigation locks that ships more than 12 million tons of commodities between Portland, Ore. and Lewiston, Idaho.
The Dalles navigation lock dimensions:
Lock Dimensions: 86 ft. wide and 675 ft. long
Lock lift is 87.5 ft.
Each half of the downstream gate is 106.6 ft. high and 43 ft. wide
Weight: each half of the gate is 680,000 lbs.
By Professional Mariner Staff