UPDATE: Chickamauga Lock is back open
The Chickamauga Lock is set to reopen a week ahead of schedule.
Tuesday, October 28th 2014, 2:22 pm EDT
Tuesday, November 4th 2014, 3:19 pm EST
UPDATE: The Chickamauga Lock is back open. Two days earlier than announced. An official with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers says the lock reopened at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
: The Chickamauga Lock is scheduled to reopen this week. More than week ahead of schedule.
The 74-year-old lock was shut down last Tuesday after a routine inspection revealed a crack in the anchorage of the upper gate.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and TVA have been working to repair the structure, which has halted barge and recreational traffic.
Officials say the problem was not as extensive as originally thought, and they plan to have all repairs completed and the lock re-opened by Thursday.
: The Chickamauga Lock is closed while repairs are made to part of the upper gate.
Monday, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers closed the lock when a routine inspection showed that the anchorage of the upper gate needed immediate repair. The closure is expected to last three weeks.
An official with the Corps says the anchorage assembly has to be removed so a more detailed inspection can be done and repairs plans finalized.
The Corps is aware of the impact of the closure on commercial and recreational vehicles and will be working as quickly as possible.
An official with the Tennessee River Valley Association says if the lock were to close, approximately 150,000-200,000 truck will be back on the already crowded roadways.
A news release issued by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander today said:
“This underscores the urgent need to rebuild Chickamauga Lock. The most important step Congress can take is to allow barge owners to pay more to go through the lock, as they have offered to do, which would mean reconstruction could begin as early as fall of 2015. It's hard for me to understand any reason not to do this when recreational boaters would not pay a higher fee and all boats would get through the lock more rapidly.”
In May of this year, Alexander announced that Congress had approved final passage of legislation to authorize more funding for the nation's inland waterways, which could lead to replacement of Chickamauga Lock by as much as six years earlier than the previously projected completion of 2026.
President Obama signed the legislation into law.
“Congress has done the right thing by finally agreeing to put Chickamauga Lock fourth in the line of essential American waterways to be rebuilt, and authorizing new funding to do it,” Alexander said. “But the work will not be done fast enough to keep jobs flowing into East Tennessee until Congress accepts the offer of barge owners to pay more to accelerate the work. Their offer is in everyone's interest, including recreational boaters who would not have to pay more but would see their waiting time to go through the lock reduced. Failure of the existing lock – a real possibility if the delay in funding takes too long – would threaten jobs in Chattanooga and throughout East Tennessee, including at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, nuclear weapons facilities, nuclear power plants and manufacturing facilities. If the Lock is closed it will put at least 150,000 trucks back on I-75, and if the new expanded Lock is built it will take 100,000 trucks off I-75, according to the Tennessee River Valley Association.”