—photo by Carol Vernon, Pittsburgh Engineer District The main chamber at Emsworth Locks and Dam will be closed from August 31 to November 13.
Locks and Dams

Main Chamber Closure Set At Emsworth L&D

The main chamber at Emsworth Locks and Dam will be closed from August 31 until November 13, the Pittsburgh Engineer District announced last week.

The Corps’ repair fleet will dewater the 6,000- by 110-foot main chamber to perform maintenance activities on the downstream lock gate anchorages and test a new bulkhead closure system. The 56- by 360-foot auxiliary chamber will remain open to navigation, except for intermittent closures of 16 hours or less during the first three weeks and final week of the project.

“We have methodically planned the upcoming dewatering of Emsworth Lock for almost two years,” said Col. Andrew Short, district commander. “Every detail of the dewatering operation, the main chamber repair, and the use of the auxiliary lock chamber has been designed and worked on by our team of engineering professionals. We are focused on safe and efficient operations at Emsworth for both the repair party and commercial and recreational river users.

“Intermittent closures are needed to support the work in the lock chambers and ensure vital navigation continues.”

The facility is at Ohio River Mile 6.2.

“Dewatering is required in the main chamber to repair both the upstream and downstream miter gate anchorages,” said David Heidish, district navigation project manager for operations and maintenance. “The miter gate anchorages are severely deteriorated and experiencing excessive movement during operation. Dewatering also provides the opportunity to test the new bulkhead closure structure and ensure it performs as intended.”

The last time Emsworth was dewatered for repairs was in 2010.

“These much-needed maintenance improvements will help facilitate navigation along the Ohio River in the years to come,” Short said. “As always, we are committed to providing reliable lock operations throughout the Upper Ohio River Valley.”

Information concerning Emsworth lockages and queues for commercial watercraft will be broadcast by radio on Channel 13. Any towboat not answering a call from the locks will be dropped to the end of the waiting list, the Corps said.