WALLA WALLA, Wash. – If your upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holiday plans include a road trip to visit family and friends on the opposite side of the lower Snake River, you may want to keep in mind that most U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams are closed to public traffic on federal holidays.
Little Goose, near Starbuck; and Lower Monumental, near Kahlotus, will be closed to cross-dam traffic on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 24-25, 2012, and Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. The Monday closure was added to their vehicle-crossing holiday schedule to accommodate today’s issuance of a Presidential Executive Order granting the day before Christmas 2012 as a holiday for federal employees.
Lower Granite, near Pomeroy, will be open for vehicle crossings on Dec. 24, but closed on Dec. 25, 2012, and Jan. 1, 2013.
Non-holiday crossing schedules for dams in the Walla Walla District are as follows:
Lower Granite Lock and Dam – crossings are allowed daily from 7 a.m. through 5 p.m., except for federal holidays unless otherwise announced. Tour and school buses must contact the dam at 509-843-1493 at least 24 hours in advance for crossing authorization.
Little Goose Lock and Dam – open for crossings once an hour, on the half-hour, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and closed on federal holidays unless otherwise announced. Crossing times are 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning, and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. Tour and school buses must contact the dam at 509-399-2233, extensions 227, 231 or 253, at least 24 hours in advance for crossing authorization.
Lower Monumental Lock and Dam – open for crossings once an hour, on the half-hour, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and closed on federal holidays unless otherwise announced. Crossing times are 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning, and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. If approaching from the south shore, travelers can reach the security guard for crossing escort by calling #228 on the phone at south gate. Tour and school buses must contact the dam 24 hours in advance for authorization 509-282-3219/3218.
At all three dams, passenger cars, motorcycles, open trucks, recreation vehicles, small vans and farm equipment, with the exception of fuel trucks, will be allowed to cross. Large commercial vehicles, trucks, vehicles hauling flammable or explosive cargo and vehicles that cannot be easily searched will not be allowed to cross the dams.
All vehicles crossing Corps dams are subject to a search. Photo identification is required for all vehicle occupants 18 years of age and older. All firearms must be unloaded and declared at the gate. Security guards are authorized to perform detailed vehicle searches and deny vehicle access across the dam. Drivers may not stop their vehicles to take pictures or sight see during escorted crossings. Pedestrian traffic across the dam is not allowed because of safety considerations.
Operations officials note there could still be closures. The district may, at any time, close access to traffic for extended periods of time due to operations, maintenance or construction-related activities at a dam. A change in security conditions could also terminate public access across the dam until such time as threat levels decrease. The public will be notified about closures, if possible, in advance, but the crossing is still subject to closing at any time. Travelers can call 1-888-DAM-INFO (1-888-326-4636) for the most current dam-crossing information.