RR #1, Box 33
Wheeling, WV 26003-9701
The lock chambers lie on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River along West Virginia Route 2, just north of the Warwood district of the city of Wheeling. The villages of Yorkville, site of a large steel plant, and Tiltonsville are across the river in Ohio.
The Pike Island locks were constructed from 1959-63, and were opened in November 1963. The dam was constructed from 1962-65. This structure replaced Locks and Dams 10 and 11, built by the Corps from 1912-16 and 1904-11, respectively. These had smaller lock chambers with old-style wooden wicket dams which were raised and lowered manually by the lock crews to maintain the required navigation depth in the river.
The Pike Island project has two locks and a gated dam, one of the two major types of dams in service in the Pittsburgh District. Gated dams are constructed to permit increased control over the water level in the navigation pool upriver of the dam. Machinery mounted on tall concrete piers moves large chains which lift gates that are hinged into the body of the piers. As the gates are raised or lowered to control the amount of water flowing under them, the upstream pool is maintained at a relatively constant level for an authorized depth of at least 9 feet throughout its length. The dam, however, cannot be operated to control flood flows. An incidental benefit derived from the pool formed by the dam is the availability of a source of municipal and industrial water.