A Pittsburgh TV news team visited Montgomery Locks and Dam on the Ohio River Feb. 3 as part of a segment on the potential consequences associated with a loss of pool at a local navigation facility.
The issue came to light during a Department of Homeland Security and Regional 13 Task Force “Loss of Pittsburgh Pool" table top exercise last October. The exercise was designed to improve existing critical infrastructure partnerships and strengthen regional resilience and recovery efforts in the event of a failure at the Emsworth Lock and Dam.
Recent dam safety work at Emsworth has helped to greatly reduce the risk of failure at the once high-risk main and back channel dams, but other facilities in the Pittsburgh navigation inventory, such as Montgomery, are rated poorly due to structural deficiencies, severe deterioration, and unaddressed critical maintenance.
Rich Lockwood, chief, Operations Division; Mark Jones, Engineering and Construction chief; John Dilla, Locks and Dams Branch chief; and Mark Demattio, Montgomery Locks and Dam lockmaster, gave KDKA reporter Andy Sheehan and cameraman Bob Chakill a tour of the facility. The group stressed the need to prepare for a possible loss of multiple gates at Montgomery due to a failure caused by heavy ice loading or a barge strike.
Maintenance bulkheads, on site, are used during ongoing work to maintain and replace the deteriorated gates. Gravity dam blocks are also staged at the district's Pittsburgh Engineer Warehouse and Repair Station and ready to be deployed should there be multiple gate failures at Montgomery.
The Pittsburgh District has been working to replace all 10 dam lift gates at Montgomery. In fiscal 2012 and 2014, the district contracted for the fabrication of four lift gates. This fiscal year, the district hopes to award a contract to install three gates. The recently released fiscal 2016 President's Budget provides funds to install one lift gate and fabricate another for future installation.
See more photos of this event at our Flickr site.
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