Kentucky Lock Addition Project

FACT SHEET (As of April 2022)

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published Feb. 18, 2022
Updated: May 2, 2022
KY Lock Addition – Jan 2022 (Looking Upstream)

KY Lock Addition – Jan 2022 (Looking Upstream)

Kentucky Lock Addition Project  - Artist Rendering

Kentucky Lock Addition Project - Artist Rendering

 Kentucky Lock Addition Project



AUTHORIZATION: The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996 (P.L. 104-303) & WRDA of 2020 (P.L. 116-260)                          

TYPE OF PROJECT: Navigation Lock Project

LOCATION: The Kentucky Lock Addition Project is located at Mile 22.4 of the Tennessee River in western Kentucky.



  • Inland Waterways Trust Fund (Inland Waterways User Board)
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)


BACKGROUND: The project includes design and construction of a new 110’x 1200’ lock to be located landward of the existing 110’x 600’ lock.  Each lock is owned by TVA and operated/maintained by USACE.  Three major relocations projects associated with the construction of the new lock have been completed:  1) two-mile relocation of US Hwy 62; 2) two-mile relocation of P&L Railway; and 3) four new 161 kV transmission towers.


IMPORTANCE: Products originating from, or designated to, 20 states pass through the system of Kentucky and Barkley Locks, the lower-most locks on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, respectively.  Over 80% of the commercial tows hauling these products pass through Kentucky Lock instead of Barkley Lock because of difficult and costly navigation on the Cumberland River below Barkley.  Since most of the tows are greater than 600’ in length, they must perform a time-consuming double lockage to transit through the existing 600’ long Kentucky Lock.   As a result, Kentucky Lock’s average delay of 9 hours are some of the longest delay times of any lock in the inland waterway system.  Construction of a new 1200’ lock essentially eliminates these delays well into the future.  Annually, approximately 57 million tons of commercial cargo and goods, valued over $10 billion, pass through Kentucky Lock. 



  • The $55M Downstream Lock Excavation contract is currently 85% complete.  Estimated Completion is July 2022.
  • The Downstream Lock Monoliths contract base ($167M) was awarded in September 2021, to Thalle Construction Company.  The eight options ($213M) were exercised on March 30, 2022.  The total contract amount of $380M for the base and eight options is now fully funded.  The period of performance remains 67 months, with a contract completion date of May 2027.     
  • The Corps is conducting a Cost Schedule Risk Analysis (CSRA) and a Total Project Cost Estimate (TPCE) update this year (required every two years). 



Completed Work: Transmission Tower, Highway, and Railroad relocations are physically complete.  Upstream Cofferdam, Upstream Monoliths and Miter Gates, Site Demolitions/Utilities Relocation, Downstream Cofferdam.

FY2022 Scheduled Work: Complete Downstream Lock Excavation and commence construction of the Downstream Lock Monoliths, which is expected to take 67 months to complete.

Remaining Work (future contracts):  Upstream and Downstream Approach Walls, Lock Electrical and Mechanical Features, Lock Operations Buildings and Bridges, and Site Restoration.


Robert Winters