LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville Repair Station (LRS) fleet has begun preliminary staging work to hang four new lock miter gate leaves at the Markland Locks and Dam, in Warsaw, Ky. Two leaves will be hung at the upstream end of the chamber, and two downstream, according to a release put out by the Corps.
The Corps closed Markland’s 1,200 foot lock chamber this week while the LRS fleet staged vessels and equipment at the chamber. Now, LRS has begun setting bulkheads and pumps to dewater the chamber.
During the gate replacement procedure, all navigation traffic will pass through the 600-foot lock chamber, requiring some tows to break apart in order to lock through. Members of the commercial towing industry, Central Ohio River Maritime Industry Group (CORMIG), Ohio River Ice Committee, Huntington District Waterways Association, and the Louisville District have developed locking procedures utilizing a self-help program to minimize delays.
“We are promoting safety, caution, and efficiency during the gate replacement operation. These are the keys to minimizing delays,” said Gene Dowell, Operations Manager, Locks and Dams Project Office, Louisville District.
The Markland Lock Rehabilitation project was initiated in 2007. The project includes new miter gates, new culvert valves, a gate storage pier and miter gate assembly. Installing the new gates will be time consuming using a custom-built portable milling machine by Climax Portable Machine Tools who developed the portable milling machine that will mill the quoins on the lock doors or gates.
The current schedule has LRS completing the gate hanging in mid-September.
Currently, one set of new miter gate leaves hangs on site awaiting installation while the other pair is stored at McAlpine Locks and Dam, Louisville. The new gate leaves were fabricated by Oregon Ironworks and shipped through the Panama Canal to reach the Ohio River Basin.
Markland Locks and Dam averages more than 55 million tons of freight annually with coal being the primary commodity. Markland is located in the heart of the Ohio River navigation system inside of Kentucky District 4, one of the top coal-producing areas in the country.