The Senate passed a plan Wednesday to replace Chickamauga Lock.

Senator Lamar Alexander says the Senate passed two major provisions as part of the Water Resources Development Act to ultimately replace the Chickamauga Lock, a project he says is important to all of East Tennessee.

"This legislation would put us, for the first time in several years, on a steady path to replace Chickamauga Lock before it fails," Alexander said. "This is not only important to Chattanooga, it's important to all of East Tennessee because it affects commerce going up the Tennessee River to Knoxville, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, nuclear weapons facilities, nuclear plants and manufacturing facilities."

Alexander's legislation would create funding by removing the requirement that Inland Waterways Trust Fund money go toward Olmsted Lock, an Ohio River project, and  restate a capital development plan that outlines priorities for the fund.

Alexander said the $600 million project to replace the lock over five years would still require a fee increase that commercial users already support.

Approximately 6.7 million tons of cargo travel through the Lock annually. This helps keep 100,000 trucks off interstates.

Alexander previously introduced all three changes as part of the American Waterworks Act, but announced May 1 that portions of that legislation would come before the Senate as part of the Water Resources Development Act. The House has not yet taken up its version of the Water Resources Development Act.