US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District Website

NR 18-023: Kentucky Lock’s first lift-in shell to be placed

Published Aug. 1, 2018
Diagram of Public Viewing Designated Area at Kentucky Dam of placement of a 1.3-million-pound concrete shell Friday, Aug. 3, 2018 that will form a part of the downstream cofferdam for the new lock under construction at Kentucky Dam, a Tennessee Valley Authority project.   Lifting and setting this massive concrete shell represents a critical milestone towards completion of the new 1,200-foot-long navigation lock and involves techniques never previously attempted. This placement is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District's Kentucky Lock Addition Project. (Courtesy Asset)

Diagram of Public Viewing Designated Area at Kentucky Dam of placement of a 1.3-million-pound concrete shell Friday, Aug. 3, 2018 that will form a part of the downstream cofferdam for the new lock under construction at Kentucky Dam, a Tennessee Valley Authority project. Lifting and setting this massive concrete shell represents a critical milestone towards completion of the new 1,200-foot-long navigation lock and involves techniques never previously attempted. This placement is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District's Kentucky Lock Addition Project.

GRAND RIVERS, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2018) –  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District plans to set its first 1.3-million-pound concrete shell Friday, Aug. 3, 2018 that will form a part of the downstream cofferdam for the new lock under construction at Kentucky Dam, a Tennessee Valley Authority project.   Lifting and setting this massive concrete shell represents a critical milestone towards completion of the new 1,200-foot-long navigation lock and involves techniques never previously attempted.

This one-day lift-in activity will start at approximately 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. CDT. While this will be a very slow moving event that will transpire over a period of 6 to 10 hours, limited public access and limited viewing will be allowed. The designated viewing area is located on the downstream tip of the Powerhouse Island as shown in the map on the last page of this release.  Not only is this a slow moving event, the viewing area is approximately 300 yards downstream of the primary lift-in activity; therefore, public viewing will be limited.  Other key information for this event:


  • Public parking is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.  When the parking lots are full, access to the Powerhouse Island will be closed.
  • No stopping will be allowed on the downstream U.S. Highway 62 bridge.
  • The event could be postponed on short notice due to weather or mechanical issues.  If it is postponed, a notice will be published at www.facebook.com/kentuckylock as soon as possible after the postponement decision is made.

Description of the Lift-in activity:  A large and specially constructed catamaran gantry barge system will lift a large concrete box (or shell) off of the barge it was cast on.  An animated video illustrating the gantry barge’s operation is available at https://youtu.be/SEraoQwQAVs.

The rectangular shell is approximately 46-feet wide, 51-feet long, and 33-feet tall with concrete walls about one-foot thick.  The gantry barge will then move about 200 yards to position itself in the set-down location.  Once precisely positioned by a system of eight cables, the gantry barge will lower the shell into the water onto a prepared foundation on the bedrock.  Four spuds on the shell will then be adjusted to put the weight of the shell on the foundation and off the gantry barge.  The gantry barge will then disconnect from the shell and be moved 200 yards downstream.  This will end the activity/event.  All of the above is expected to last a full day and most activities will be very slow moving.  This will be the first of 10 shells to be installed and there will be opportunities to view the installation of the remaining shells over the next year.

“Reaching this point in the project is a monumental accomplishment that is a testimony to a lot of hard work by the Kentucky Lock Team,” said Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, Nashville District commander. “The Corps, our partners at Tennessee Valley Authority, and our contractor, Johnson Brothers, have been working very well together to overcome the many challenges facing them on a project of this magnitude to make this day happen.”

The Corps is constructing a new navigation lock at Kentucky Dam to reduce the significant bottleneck that the 600-foot-long current lock causes on this important waterway.  Because of high Tennessee River traffic levels and the current lock’s size, the average delay times for commercial tows going through Kentucky Lock average from eight to 10 hours – near the highest in the country. 

“The new lock will eliminate these delays and result in a much more efficient river transportation system,” Jones said.

The total cost for the Kentucky Lock project is $1.25 billion with about $455 million expended to date, or about 36 percent complete.  Funding bottlenecks that have plagued the project since construction commenced in 1998 have been lifted in the last three years.  This has allowed progress to proceed full tilt for the downstream cofferdam and has allowed the advertisement of the next large construction contract for the project, the Downstream Lock Excavation.  This contract is expected to be awarded by Sept. 30, 2018.

The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can also follow Kentucky Lock on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kentuckylock

Contact
Bill Peoples
615-736-7161
chief.public-affairs@usace.army.mil
or
Lee Roberts
615-736-7161
chief.public-affairs@usace.army.mil

Release no. 18-040