Public Notices

Navigation Notice 19-09: Restricted Lock Operations at Cheatham Lock

Published April 14, 2019
Expiration date: 3/31/2019

Record rainfall in February has required the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District Water Management to implement extraordinary measures to release substantial amounts of water from upstream storage reservoirs.

These releases have resulted in sustained high flows in the Cumberland River system. During these high flows, water overtopped the lock wall and damage to critical electrical components occurred. High mast lighting is currently disabled. Temporary measures have been implemented to operate the lock on a limited basis.

Until further notice and effective immediately, the Corps of Engineers will be implementing reduced hours of operations  at Cheatham Lock (Cumberland River Mile 148.7) which will allow for lockage during daylight hours only.


When repairs are completed to critical electrical components and the lock is under full power, a follow-on notice to navigation will be issued when the lock is be able to return to normal operating hours.

Lockages at Cheatham Lock normally cease when flows reach 90,000cfs; however, during this unprecedented event of the sustained record high flows in the Cumberland River system, the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, and Navigation Industry Representatives worked together to develop interim restrictions to safely operate Cheatham Lock at flows higher than 90,000 cfs.

In addition to existing restrictions, the following restrictions will be in place for flows above 90,000 cfs but below 115,000 cfs, at which no lockages will be allowed:

a. An industry provided helper boat must be positioned upstream of the lock to assist tows.

b. Towboats are required to have a minimum 300 horsepower per jumbo barge and 750 horsepower per oversize tank barge.

c. Only experienced pilots (those who have operated through Cheatham during previous high flow restrictions) would operate through this limited restricted period.

d. No locking of empty tows if sustained winds of 20 mph or higher.

e. Industry representatives will be on site at all times during these restricted lockages.

f. Lockages will only occur during daylight hours and under good visibility. A lockage will not be allowed to begin if it can’t exit the arrival point prior to 1900 hours.

If flows fall below 90,000 cfs, normal restricted operations will guide operations.

For more information contact: John Tribble at or (615) 736-7809