CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Oct. 31, 2014) – Work crews assessed damage at Chickamauga Lock and plan to reopen Chickamauga Lock to all navigation traffic next week.
Lt. Col. John Hudson, commander of the Nashville District, was onsite during the initial evaluation on Thursday and was pleased with the results of the inspection and the path forward.
After a brief meeting with engineers, staff and several Tennessee Valley Authority officials, Hudson said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District plans to reopen Chickamauga Lock to all navigation traffic as early as Thursday, Nov. 6. An inspection of the upper gate anchorage and a repair plan were completed today.
Chickamauga Lock closed on Monday after a routine inspection revealed a crack in the anchorage of the upper gate.
“The Corps was able to complete the inspection today and the results are good news,” Hudson said. “I am glad the problem was not as extensive as originally thought, and we believe we will be able to complete repairs this coming week and reopen Chickamauga Lock before next weekend.”
During the inspection over the last two days, a team of Corps and TVA engineers exposed and measured the crack on the Upper Gate and worked closely together to develop the repair plan.
Chickamauga Lock is owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority but maintained and operated by the Nashville District. Monday afternoon, a routine inspection by Corps engineers found the crack and engineers stopped all river passage to assess the damage, make repairs that should take three weeks.
Matt Emmons, Nashville District Lock Master at the Chickamauga Lock, said the facility is aging.
“Unexpected closures for maintenance are a rough thing around here,” said Emmons. “It is an unexpected closure so it impacts a lot of industry, recreational and commercial vessels, we have a lot of marina’s up stream and a vibrant riverfront so the impacts are dramatic,” said Emmons.
Emmons said the TVA, and the Corps at Chickamauga are working to determine the repair time.
“In overall support and collaboration both agencies have synergized their technical competency to affect a positive outcome,” said Emmons.
The unexpected shut down of the lock puts a damper on lock traffic both commercial and recreational. Jeff Ross, Nashville District Navigation Branch chief for the Corps of Engineers, said personnel and equipment were moved from Wheeler Lock in Florence to help with repairs.
“We are moving right on track to make the needed assessments and repairs,” said Ross. “The gate is in a safe position and there is no damage to any other components of the lock. “We are aware of the impacts this closure has on vessels moving up and down the river but safety is paramount,” said Ross. “
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.