Corps replaces Ice Harbor’s 50-year-old tailrace gantry crane

Published Dec. 5, 2011

BURBANK, Wash. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam can look forward to receiving a rather large, early Christmas present this week.

It’s a new crane weighing 58 tons that can lift even heavier loads than the crane it’s replacing.

Installation of the new 40-ton-capacity gantry crane is almost complete, replacing the dam’s aging 35-ton- capacity crane located on the tailrace deck just outside the powerhouse on the downstream side of the dam.

After 50 years serving the dam’s heavy-lifting needs, the old crane was beginning to show its age, creating potential safety concerns.

Final inspection and testing of the new crane is scheduled to occur this week, according to Roger Golladay, Ice

Harbor’s operations project manager.

Corps of Engineers quality assurance representatives from Walla Walla District’s Engineering and Construction Division will monitor a series of final tests which includes running the new crane through all mechanical and electrical component functions and movements while bearing different amounts of weight up to 125 percent (or 50 tons) of its rated capacity.

“If everything checks out okay, we’ll run it through its paces moving some stoplogs and then be ready to put it to work,” said Golladay.

Golladay pointed out that as Ice Harbor Lock and Dam nears 50 years of service, tending to or replacing aging components of the dam’s equipment and infrastructure is critical to maintaining the facility.

“Ice Harbor has produced enough power and enabled economical commercial river transportation to more than pay for what the public originally invested to build it,” he said. “If we take good care of it, Ice Harbor will continue providing power, navigation, irrigation and recreation benefits to the region for years to come.”

In March 2010, the Corps awarded a $1,866,179 contract to Advanced Crane Technologies LLC from Reading, Penn., to design, manufacture and install the new crane.

A.C.T. designed the crane and subcontracted out component and structural fabrication to several Washington State businesses, including one in the Tri-Cities area. Structural fabrication and initial assembly was done at Thompson Metal Fabrication in Vancouver, Wash. Electrical work was subcontracted to Atomic Electric of West Richland, Wash. Removal of the dam’s old crane and final assembly of the new crane was subcontracted to Machinery Installation and Maintenance, Inc. of Mill Creek, Wash.

The new, silver-colored crane is positioned on railroad-like tracks which run the length of the powerhouse, standing about 40 feet tall, its stilt-like, steel structural columns spanning an area roughly 30 feet square. The tailrace crane is primarily used to raise and lower bulkhead sections (also called “stoplogs”) into and out of the turbine draft tube gate wells on the downstream side of the dam. The crane is also used to transport many other types of materials and equipment necessary to maintain powerhouse operations.

Golladay added that Ice Harbor staff is beginning to lay plans to celebrate the dam’s 50th anniversary sometime during summer 2012. The Corps will announce the date once scheduled.

Ice Harbor Lock and Dam is located at Snake River Mile 9.7 near Burbank, Wash. The dam was dedicated by Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson on May 9, 1962. Ice Harbor Dam consists of a powerhouse which contains six hydroelectric generators, a navigation lock, two fish ladders, a removable spillway weir, a juvenile fish bypass facility and a multi-media visitor center. Construction of the dam began in January 1956. Generators 1 thru 3 were in operation in December 1961. By 1976, generators 4 thru 6 were installed and producing power.

For more information about Ice Harbor Lock and Dam visit their Facebook page at -- get in on Ice Harbor park rangers’ 50th Anniversary “Gee Wiz Quiz,” a weekly trivia game featuring all things Ice Harbor Lock and Dam.



Public Affairs

Release no. 11-160