Stranded boats and canceled plans from Chickamauga Lock closure - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Stranded boats and canceled plans from Chickamauga Lock closure

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The Chickamauga lock remains closed after a routine inspection revealed it needs to be repaired, and right away.
 
The Army Corps of Engineers expects the lock to be closed at least three weeks while the anchorage of the upper gate is fixed -- stopping all traffic on the water.

The temporary closure is also keeping spectators away from one of Chattanooga's greatest rowing events.
"My first reaction was "yikes!" because I was going to bring my boat down," said Head of the Hooch Assistant Director Doug Beville, "For years we've used my boat as the finish line of the event."
    
For its 10th year in Chattanooga, Head of the Hooch will have to go without some of its most dedicated fans.
    
People who were coming on about 20 boats and made their reservations six months in advance can no longer attend.

"They're a big part of it, they're great people," Beville said, "They enjoy seeing all the people rowing and this year they'll be unable to come."
    
The boats can't get to Ross's Landing since the Chickamauga lock shut down for repairs.
    
Beville said the closure has disrupted some of their plans, but the news didn't come as a big surprise.

"You know for a lot of years they were telling us that this lock was going to fail," Beville said.
    
Right down the river at Marine Max, the captain is not so much concerned about the boats that can't come visit, he's worried about the boats that can't come home.

"There's quite a few people that I know of that are stranded at this point," Capt. Bart Schubert said, "A few different boats that are up river.."
   
A few local families joined the Vol navy in Knoxville for the UT-Alabama game last weekend.

"Now they're going to have to go make arrangements whether to go get a rental car or have somebody go pick them up so they can get back to their family and jobs."
    
Captain Schubert hopes to see more action taken to build a new lock at the Chickamauga Dam so an unexpected closure doesn't happen again.

"The lock is one of the busiest locks in our country," Capt. Schubert said, "And I'm not just making that up between pleasure craft and commercial it stays busy constantly."

A spokesperson for TVA said the company is now making calls, trying to figure out another way the company could  get equipment off  a barge, just in case this closure lasts longer than the expected three weeks.

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