Locks and Dams

$1.09 Million Contract ‘Buys Time’ At Montgomery Locks

The Pittsburgh Engineer District announced August 2 that it has awarded a $1.09 million contract to C.J. Mahan Construction Company LLC of Columbus, Ohio to install a temporary repair to the severely cracked and unstable middle-lock wall at the Ohio River’s Montgomery Locks and Dam near Monaca, Pa.

Engineers calculated that the middle wall, which separates the lock’s two chambers, has a 50 percent chance of failing by 2028 if left unaddressed.

A middle-wall failure would halt navigation on the upper Ohio River, significantly affecting shipments of coal, heating oil, aggregates, road salt and other vital commodities.

The temporary repair is an interim measure meant to slow the wall’s deterioration rate, the Corps said, until a permanent fix can be performed. Repairs are anticipated to take approximately 1.5 years.

Temporary lock closures and delays may occur during the work, which is expected to start later this year.

“This vital effort to reduce the risk of failure at Montgomery Locks and Dam will help ensure that we are providing safe and reliable navigation, which greatly contributes to the regional economy,” said Col. Andrew Short, commander of the Pittsburgh District.

A permanent solution to address conditions at Montgomery is planned as part of the authorized $2.7-billion Upper Ohio Navigation Project. The solution will involve construction of new 110- by 600-foot  lock chambers at each of the first three Ohio River navigation facilities at Emsworth, Dashields and Montgomery.

The Upper Ohio Navigation Project is currently in the engineering and design phase while concurrently undergoing an economic re-evaluation of the project benefits.