Sunday, August 30, 2015

Locking through Olmstead

This is another of those I-wish-I-could-be-there-to-see-it occasions.

The Olmstead Locks and Dam, which has been under construction since -- I don't know, but it's been a long, long time -- will begin passing traffic today through the landward lock chamber because of dam construction activities out in the channel.

Combined with traffic restrictions at Locks and Dam 53 because of work on that dam, it could be slow going on the lower Ohio for a while.

Here is the pertinent information, lifted from Navigation Notice 2015-035, issued by the Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on August 14.

Lock 53 is scheduled to have wicket repair activities and a lane restriction in effect Tuesday 25 Aug 2015. River traffic will be restricted to a 400’ wide channel on the Illinois side of the center pier (please see attached detail drawing). This restriction will be in effect until modified by future navigation notice dependent on repair progress.  The Olmsted project is scheduled to begin locking operations on 30 August 2015.  The channel will be closed due to ongoing construction activities; however river traffic will be diverted to the landside chamber to pass the project site.

Following that are instructions for commercial traffic between miles 953 and 968.

I haven't heard of any traffic using Olmstead up until now, so I'm wondering if this will be as big a deal as what happened when the M/V Bob Benter became the first boat to use the Greenup Locks and Dam way back when.

If you want background on why it's taken so long to build Olmstead, which has been under construction since the first part of Bill Clinton's presidency, check out this article.

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