WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct routine annual inspections, preventative maintenance and repairs at all navigation locks on the Columbia and Snake rivers over the next several weeks.
Walla Walla District dams with navigation locks include: McNary Dam, located near Umatilla, Oregon, at Columbia River mile 292; Ice Harbor; near Burbank, Washington, at Snake River mile 10; Lower Monumental, near Kahlotus, Washington, at Snake River mile 41; Little Goose, near Starbuck, Washington, at Snake River mile 70 and Lower Granite Dam, near Pomeroy, Washington, at Snake River mile 107. Portland District’s Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day navigation locks are located at Columbia River miles 145, 191 and 216, respectively.
All locks in the navigation system were originally scheduled to close to recreational and commercial river traffic on March 7 at 6 a.m. However, an upstream lock gate malfunction March 5 at Little Goose Lock and Dam, near Starbuck, Washington, required operations officials to close the lock earlier than planned.
Because of Little Goose’s early lock closure and commercial traffic having already cleared the Snake River, the Corps coordinated with shippers to maximize the unexpected opportunity to start annual maintenance a day earlier than originally scheduled.
All Snake River locks closed today at 11 a.m. McNary and all Portland District locks remain on schedule to close for annual maintenance at 6 a.m. on March 7.
Locks in the Corps’ Walla Walla District will be closed through Saturday, April 4. All Portland District locks are scheduled to resume service at 11:59 p.m. on March 21.
Walla Walla District operations staff will perform routine inspections and maintenance on the locks, as well as some non-routine work which will require more time to complete than the typical two-week-long routine maintenance outage. The non-routine work includes, but is not limited to, gate structural repairs, machinery replacement and lock structure repairs.
During the navigation lock maintenance outage, work activities will require the suspension of public vehicle crossings at Lower Monumental and Little Goose dams. Lower Monumental will be closed to public vehicles March 9 through March 27. Little Goose may experience temporary closures to public vehicle crossings to accommodate work activities as it becomes necessary -- travelers are strongly encouraged to check the dam-crossing information line for crossing updates 1-888-DAM-INFO (1-888-326-4636). Lower Granite plans to remain open to public vehicle crossings throughout the lock outage.
Operations officials note vehicle crossing closures can occur at any time. The district may, with little or no advance notice, 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.
Recreational vessel owners can find information on Corps-managed boat launches in the Walla Walla District at www.nww.usace.army.mil/corpsoutdoors. Portland District recreation information is online at www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation.aspx.
To maintaining safe and reliable passage through this valuable navigation system, the Corps districts coordinate these annual closures with inland shippers and cruise lines to achieve minimal impact to the various industries that use the locks. Public Notices and other navigation lock information are available on the Walla Walla District website at www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation.aspx, and on Portland District’s website at www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation.aspx.
The Corps’ Portland and Walla Walla districts maintain the commercial navigation route from the Pacific Ocean 465 miles inland to Lewiston, Idaho. The Columbia-Snake Inland Navigation System provides important benefits to businesses and the public. Barging on the Columbia-Snake river system moves on average approximately 9 million tons of cargo valued at over $3 billion each year, supporting economic vitality for the Northwest and neighboring states that use the navigation channel. The navigation system helps generate jobs, facilitates imports and exports, and contributes to a stronger economy, environment and quality of life for the region.