Four Locks On Columbia And Snake Rivers Closed For Scheduled Maintenance
The Walla Walla (Wash.) Engineer District closed navigation locks on the Columbia and Snake rivers beginning January 14 for a scheduled 11-week outage. The extended closure will allow the district to perform routine maintenance and to replace aged equipment to reduce the risk of asset failure.
The locks included in the extended outage are at McNary Dam, located at Mile 292 of the Columbia River, and Lower Monumental Dam, Little Goose Dam and Lower Granite Dam, located on the Snake River at Miles 41, 70 and 107, respectively.
Corps officials anticipated that the four navigation locks will return to service by March 29 at 11:59 p.m. Officials also plan to close the Ice Harbor Navigation Lock, Snake River Mile 9.7, on February 26 at 6 a.m. and return it to service by March 22 at 11:59 p.m.
To maintain safe and reliable passage through the navigation system, the Corps coordinates the annual lock closures with inland shippers and cruise lines to minimize impacts to lock users.
The Columbia-Snake system is a major wheat export gateway, but Jeff Van Pevenage, president and CEO of Columbia Grain in Portland, Ore., told a farm publication that wheat exporters and shippers were communicated with and are prepared for the closures.
“We have had to front-end load the program [and] hold more inventory at Columbia Export Terminal and Kalama as compared to a normal one-month river closure,” he said. “We might possibly face increased execution costs (i.e. vessel demurrage) on the hard red winter and spring wheat programs, as barges often help us fill in gaps when rail shipments are delayed.”
Together, the Portland and Walla Walla Engineer districts maintain 465 miles of commercial waterway from the Pacific Ocean to Lewiston, Idaho. Approximately 9 million tons of cargo valued at more than $3 billion is barged on the Columbia-Snake River System annually.
In addition, the Walla Walla District may temporarily suspend public vehicle crossings at Lower Monumental, Little Goose and/or Lower Granite dams due to work activity. Crossings are subject to closure at any time; however, the Corps will notify the public in advance of these closures if possible.
More information about the extended navigation lock outage can be found at www.nww.usace.army.mil/missions/navigation/2024-extended-navigation-lock-outage/.