CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (April 3, 2013) – Nine Congressional staff members from the Tennessee Valley visited the Chickamauga Lock Construction project today to receive a briefing and tour as part of their TVA-sponsored orientation to Tennessee River operations.
Congressional staff members included Dayne Cutrell (Rep. Scott DesJarlais, Tennessee District 4); Brittany Hernandez (Rep. Steve Cohen, Tennessee District 9); Jason Lawrence (Rep. Tom Graves, Georgia District 14); Jason O’Rouke (Rep. Doug Collins, Georgia District 9); Meyer Seligman (Rep. Alan Nunnelee, Mississippi District 1); John Shea (Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee District 3); Daniel Tidwell (Rep. Robert Aderholt, Alabama District 4); Bevin Wilkinson (Sen. Roger Wicker of Alabama); and Rob Strayer, (Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee).
“I explained that if not replaced, the deteriorating, 73-year-old lock will eventually be closed due to safety concerns related to structural instability,” said Jamie James, project manager for the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project. “All funded work will be completed this fiscal year and without further funding, construction will be mothballed, he added.
There are three navigation locks and 318 navigable stream miles upstream of Chickamauga Lock that would be isolated from the Inland Waterways System and would present difficulties in transporting materials to upstream industries if the lock closed, according to James.
“This would include TVA nuclear power plants, U.S. Department of Energy facilities at Oak Ridge, and the loss of transportation rate savings in that area,” James added.
The TVA owns the nine dams, hydropower plants and locks on the Tennessee River and the Melton Hill Dam on the Clinch River. TVA operates and maintains the dams and hydropower plants, manages water levels, flood risk reduction, recreational activities and other environmental issues at these facilities, and the USACE Nashville District operates and maintains the navigational locks and channels.
Nashville District owns, operates and maintains the 10 dams, nine hydropower plants and the four navigation locks on the Cumberland River and its tributaries. It maintains 1,175 navigable river miles on the two rivers and remotely operates Detroit District’s Sault Ste. Marie hydropower plant in Michigan. Nashville District also manages water levels, flood risk reduction, recreational activities and other environmental and regulatory issues at its 10 projects on the Cumberland River and its tributaries.
The two agencies work closely together in their clearly defined areas of responsibility on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, according to James.
The visiting Congressional staff members were scheduled to attend a TVA/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District quarterly coordination meeting at TVA’s Ocoee Plant 1, and other TVA facilities on April 4.