PITTSBURGH -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh is set to resume navigation operations tomorrow starting at 8 a.m. at the New Cumberland Locks and Dam on the Ohio River.
The lock shutdown occurred, Dec. 12, after a hydraulic system failure.
Lockages will be performed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mariners preparing to lock through the New Cumberland lock should refer the district’s navigation notices at http://www.lrp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices/ for specific instructions while the temporary repair is in place.
Mariners should expect delays and are urged to use extreme caution when entering or exiting the lower end of the chamber to avoid damage to the miter gates or lock structure.
The Pittsburgh District has requested emergency funds to apply to a long-term repair.
The closure stopped navigation on the Ohio River upstream and downstream of the lock, creating a backlog of commercial vessels awaiting passage.
The lock staff determined that the hydraulic system that operates the main chamber's four 170-ton miter gates and the emptying and filling valves had failed. A repair crew capped and tested damaged hydraulic lines and will continue to monitor the situation.
The Corps immediately deployed spill response measures to mitigate the spill upon its discovery and halted operations of the lock's hydraulic system.
The spill was mostly contained in the 110-ft by 1,200-ft primary lock chamber though a small amount did enter the waterway. Crews placed on-site spill containment booms to absorb fluid that escaped from the chamber and to stop the spread of fluid.
The district dispatched civil and environmental experts to investigate the spill and reported the situation to the U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center, navigation interests and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, which monitors water quality on the Ohio River.
New Cumberland Locks and Dam is comprised of two lock chambers, an auxiliary and a main chamber. The Corps placed the 110-ft by 600-ft auxiliary lock chamber out of service approximately two years ago due to structural issues that prevent its safe operation.
For additional information, mariners are advised to monitor marine radio Channel 13 and the Corps’ navigation notices at http://www.lrp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices/.
The Pittsburgh District’s 23 locks and dams on the upper Ohio, Monongahela and Allegheny rivers represent the oldest and largest network of navigation facilities in the Army Corps’ national inland marine transportation system.