GRAND RIVERS, Ky., Tenn. (May 16, 2019) – Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander welcomed The Marine Board members from the Transportation Research Board of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering for a tour of the Kentucky Lock Addition Project at Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River in Grand Rivers, Ky., to get a close overview of the construction.
The Marine Board is touring several cities along the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Rivers during a portion of their Annual spring board meeting in Pacaducah, Ky., May 13-16.
Jones also welcomed Lt. Gen. (Ret,)(Dr.) Thomas P. Bostick, 53rd Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who currently serves as senior vice president at Intrexon, a Bio-Engineering Company, where he leads the Environment Sector and is a Marine Board member.
Don Getty, project manager for the Kentucky Lock Addition Project; Caleb Skinner, area Lock Master for Kentucky and Barkley Locks; and Barney Schulte, Kentucky Lock’s lead engineer, welcomed the board attendees. They briefed the group at the Kentucky resident engineer office about how the Corps operates locks, dams and reservoirs within the Cumberland River Basin as a system, water management operations, and specifically about ongoing construction at the Kentucky Lock Addition.
“This group has lots of questions and they were very interested in the construction, costs, and the technology used,” said Getty. “They asked some really great questions.”
At a brief stop, Corps of Engineers officials gave them with an overview and a view three of 10 partially placed concrete shells on the riverbed of the Tennessee River. These shells that will be placed over the next year and will be part of the downstream cofferdam and the permanent lock wall for the Kentucky Lock Addition Project.
The group also toured current construction site at the Kentucky Lock Addition Project. Bostick and the board members walked along the large-new concrete lock walls, trekked across, down scaffolds, and through shallow pools of dirt to the deepest depth of the partially constructed lock. The project includes design and construction of a new 110-foot by 1,200-foot lock It will be located landward of the existing 110-foot by 600-foot lock which will accommodate modern barge tows without having to break the tows.
“The tour is excellent,” said Bostick. “It’s always good to get back to the Corps, and the Nashville District team is one of the great teams in the world to do these kind of projects. It’s fascinating to see the technology used and how they are adapting and integrating situations with solutions,” said Bostick. “I was impressed before but I’m even more impressed now. This is a great Corps project and I can hardly wait to see when it’s completed.”
Jones and Getty led Bostick and the group across Kentucky Lock to the new partially constructed addition and provided him details on the construction of the new lock.
“Most of the products that are shipped through here effect our everyday life and are vital to our country,” said Getty. “Items such as coal, building materials, agricultural products, fuel, and products that make us more competitive globally.”
Edward Comstock, chairman of the Marine Board, walked cross the lock gate, and walked in front of the huge miter gates, and was curious of how much time it takes for a barge to lock through.
“This tour has been great and I am impressed with the size these enormous structures, the technology and economic impact to the region,” said Comstock.
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 seven to over nine hours – near the highest in the country.
“This lock is one of the busiest locks in the country,” said Getty.” “The new lock will eliminate these delays and result in a much more efficient river transportation system.
The total cost for the Kentucky Lock project is $1.22 billion with about $400 million expended to date, or about 40 percent complete. If efficient future funding levels are provided, the earliest expected completion date is 2023.
“We are happy that he (Bostick) and the group came for the visit today,” said Getty. “He had a few questions, was very engaged, seemed interested in every aspect and asked fantastic questions.”
Jones, said the board’s visit was chance to share how the District incorporates large scale construction projects with engineering and technology.
The Marine Board identifies research needs and provides a forum for exchange of information relating to new technologies, laws and regulations, economics, the environment, and other issues affecting the marine transportation system, port operations, coastal engineering, and marine governance.
Formed in 1965, the Marine Board is an internationally recognized source of expertise on maritime transportation and marine engineering and technology. In response to requests from sponsoring agencies or on its own initiative, the Marine Board serves the national interest by providing evaluations and advice concerning the ability of the nation's marine and maritime industries to operate safely and efficiently and in an environmentally responsible manner.
As part of TRB, the Marine Board both enhances and is supported by TRB's standing committees, particularly those involved with ports and channels, inland water transport, planning, and the environment. The Marine Board coordinates and works closely with other boards of the National Academies in areas of mutual interest.
(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.)