NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 25, 2017) –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division commander, Brig. Gen. Mark Toy visited the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project in Chattanooga, Tenn., today. He also toured the U.S. Department of Energy Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., to see the new Construction Support Building project.
Toy met employees and received the latest updates from project managers and team members as part of a command priority to meet the work force and learn first-hand the national importance of civil works projects.
During a walking tour, Chickamauga Lock Superintendent, Cory Richardson, Chickamauga Lock Project Manager Adam Walker, and Resident Engineer Tommie Long briefed him on the deteriorating old lock and the status of the new 110-foot by 600-foot lock where construction restarted in April.
Walker briefed Toy while standing on the lock and explained that the Nashville District and TVA have developed incredible solutions over the last two decades to keep the lock functioning in spite of its concrete growth problem.
Walker said when the new lock is constructed, it will significantly reduce lockage times (by increasing its capacity by a factor of nine). It will also make it unnecessary to fund aggressive maintenance at the existing lock, which is now necessary due to concrete growth.
“I’m excited about the project and the people we have working here, also that we have the funding and glad to see this project first hand before maintenance starts,” said Toy. “We have an aging infrastructure and issues that require maintenance. We want this lock to give reliability to those making goods so they can transport the goods in the most efficient way possible, which is waterways.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority completed construction of Chickamauga Lock and Dam in 1940. With a single chamber measuring 60-by-360 feet, the lock has since experienced structural problems resulting from alkali aggregate reaction between the alkali in the cement and the rock aggregate, which results in a physical expansion of concrete structures. Even with costly advanced maintenance procedures, the concrete expansion threatens the structural integrity of the lock and limits its life span.
“There’s a multitude of cracks on the project,” Walker said. “This lock through the course of its life has actually grown about 12 inches longer than it was and about four inches taller than it used to be in certain areas.”
Walker said the Corps of Engineers along with industry and academic experts have developed innovative solutions to maintain the current lock and one that engineers believe will keep the current lock open during construction of the new one.
“This is a unique project because of its situation and concrete growth. We have begun the treatment of various problems but it is prohibitively expensive over the long run and is not a permanent cure,” Walker said.
Walker said that inefficient funding has resulted in a project that originally began in 2005 for $310 million with an estimated completion in 2014 into one that is now estimated at $755 million with a completion date of 2023.
As part of his two-stop tour Gen. Toy also visited the new Construction Support Building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is managing the construction of the building, which is part of the larger Uranium Processing Facility project.
The Corps of Engineers is a valuable partner because of its ability to efficiently deliver project and construction management support to assist DOE with accomplishing its mission. USACE draws on resources across the nation to meet DOE requirements.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorpsand on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)