Locks and Dams

Both Meldahl Lock Chambers Close Daily For Motor Replacements

Both chambers at Mehldahl Locks and Dam at Ohio River Mile 436.2 are closing for eight hours daily through September 1 to replace the motor control process.

“We’re repowering, replacing old power cables and breakers in the main operations building,” said Domenico Chianesi, navigation operations manager for the Huntington Engineer District. “They’re in the process of changing out the old with the new. When they do that, they have to shut down the complete power to the facility.”

The 1,200- and 600-foot chambers are closing for up to eight hours a day, although the time may vary with that closure taking place any time between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days a week.

At no later than 5 p.m., both chambers will reopen to traffic, according to the navigation notice signed by Kent C. Browning, chief of the Technical Support Branch.

Chianesi said it is typical for 15 tows to pass through the locks daily. While the locks can typically clear any queues built up during the day during the overnight hours, Chianesi said there has been one occasion so far where a delay because of fog meant four tows had to spend an extra day in the queue.

The closure has been planned for years to replace aging parts, but Chianesi said funding was received this year to allow the project to be completed. The work began August 22.

“When we do have a failure, the parts are hard to replace,” he said. “They are not off-the-shelf items, and there is a long lead time to build what we need.”
Meldahl Locks and Dam went into operation in 1959.

The navigation notice urges mariners needing to transit the lock to contact the lockmaster via marine radio on channel 13 for more information.