Locks and Dams

Holt Lock Reopens Following Repairs To Lower Emptying Valve

Holt Lock, Mile 347 on the Black Warrior River near Tuscaloosa, Ala., closed to navigation about 3 p.m. October 23 due to a component failure on the lower riverside emptying valve.

“It’s a clevis connection, and the pin is threaded on both ends,” said Anthony Perkins, operations project manager for the Black Warrior-Tombigbee/Alabama-Coosa River Project. “One end connects to the clevis cap and the other to the strut arm. Corrosion in the connection caused the threads to strip out, causing the strut arm to fall out of the connection, rendering the valve inoperable.”

The same emptying valve caused another closure that spanned from October 4 to October 7, but the two closures were unrelated.

Under normal circumstances, losing one filling or emptying valve wouldn’t cause a complete closure, Perkins said. Holt, like the other locks on the system, has dual emptying and filling valves for redundancy. However, at Holt Lock, the Corps is in the process of replacing all the emptying and filling valves, and the landside emptying valve is currently being replaced.

“When you have that one valve already down, we’re subject to closing if something happens to the other one,” Perkins said.

The riverside emptying valve is original to the lock and will also be replaced.

“Our O&M contractor, R&D Maintenance Services, performed the repair,” Perkins said. “A new pin had to be made and installed.”

A small queue developed during the closure, with two eight-barge tows below the lock and two others above the lock, Perkins said.

“Repairs were made in a timely manner, and the contractor did a great job getting the lock back in service in approximately 48 hours,” 

The lock reopened to navigation at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 25.