WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will close navigation locks at dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers in March to conduct annual inspections, repairs and maintenance.
All Walla Walla District navigation locks will close to recreational and commercial river traffic at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, March 6. McNary Dam’s navigation lock, located at Columbia River Mile 292, is scheduled to reopen at 6 p.m. on March 20. On the Snake River, Ice Harbor (Mile 10), Lower Monumental (Mile 41), Little Goose (Mile 70) and Lower Granite (Mile 107) navigation locks are slated to reopen at 6 p.m. on March 27. The additional week is needed to replace downstream lock gate cables at Ice Harbor and perform lock wall repairs at Lower Monumental.
Lower Monumental will require some additional lock closure time for contractors to set up equipment needed for the concrete wall repairs -- between Feb. 27 and March 2, the lock will be closed to all river traffic between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day. This half-day schedule will allow commercial vessels to lock past the dam between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. each night. Lower Monumental Lock and Dam will be closed to cross-dam public vehicle traffic Feb. 20 through April 1 to avoid risk to public safety during contractor work activities on top of the dam.
Portland District’s Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day navigation locks at Columbia River Miles 145, 191 and 216, respectively, is scheduled to close for annual maintenance from 6 a.m. on March 6 until 6 p.m. on March 20.
The Corps coordinates these annual closures with inland shippers and cruise lines to achieve minimal impact to the various industries that use the locks.
The Corps’ Walla Walla and Portland districts maintain about 350 miles of the federal navigation channel from Portland, Ore. to Lewiston, Idaho. The Columbia-Snake navigation system is vital to the economic health of the Pacific Northwest. The system accommodated the transportation of an average of 17.5 million short tons of cargo annually from 1999 to 2008, according to the Corps’ Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center. 10 million tons equals about 2,700 barges, 100,000 railcars or 350,000 semi-trucks.
Public Notices and other navigation lock information are available on the Walla Walla District website at www.nww.usace.army.mil/html/offices/op/t/navdata/default.asp, and on Portland District’s website at www.nwp.usace.army.mil/op/n/home.asp.