16-088 Extended navigation lock outage starts Monday; Recreational boaters can access 50+ shoreline launches

Published Dec. 9, 2016
COLUMBIA\SNAKE RIVERS, Oregon\Washington – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials from Walla Walla and Portland districts want to remind boaters that all navigation locks on the lower Columbia and Snake rivers will be placed out of service on Monday, Dec. 12, to conduct a 14-week-long maintenance outage.

The extended outage is a coordinated effort between Portland and Walla Walla districts, as well as the commercial river users such as Ports, towboat companies and others, with the goal of accomplishing prioritized critical lock repairs during a jointly scheduled time frame to minimize the impacts of these lock closures. The districts manage the locks and dams that comprise the 359-mile-long federally authorized inland navigation channel extending upriver from Portland, Oregon, to Lewiston, Idaho.

Recreational boaters can choose from among more than 50 shoreline launches managed by the Corps and its lessees along the inland navigation channel. Find your favorite launch on the Walla Walla and Portland District recreation webpages: http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation.aspx and http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation.aspx.

Planning milestones, contract awards, fabrication and pre-outage staging work has occurred on schedule since the Corps officially announced the extended outage almost two years ago (May 2015), giving commercial navigation businesses and their customers maximum time to prepare for the locks to be out of service. Drawing from effective communications experiences during the 2010-2011 extended navigation lock outage, and keeping an open ear to the inland navigation industry, the Corps invited commercial navigation industry representatives to participate in regular communications about this upcoming outage and its associated major work projects.

“Aging infrastructure sometimes requires extensive non-routine repairs and improvements that cannot be completed within the traditional two week-long annual routine maintenance outages. Extended lock closures are very unusual and carefully coordinated between districts and commercial users to prioritize needed lock repairs and minimize the duration of closures,” said Hal Thomas, Walla Walla District’s navigation business line manager. “This work will improve the long-term functionality and safety of these locks as well as the overall reliability of the Columbia-Snake River navigation system as a whole.”

More information about the repairs and improvements to occur during the extended navigation lock outage is available on the Corps’ webpage -- http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/FY17LockOutage.aspx -- for progress updates, news releases and other information about the FY17 extended lock outage.

Walla Walla District Public Affairs Office
Portland District Public Affairs Office

Release no. 16-092