Friday, August 31, 2018

Olmsted Locks and Dam part 4 of ?

Rather than write a long, comprehensive piece about Olmsted, we'll link to this piece on the Waterways Journal website instead.

I'll still have a few more things to write, but this piece goes into the history, funding and engineering of the project.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A few boats

Here are some boats I've been able to see the past few days.

The A.J. Cenac.

The Kyova coming out of the Big Sandy.

The T Luke Savage.

The T. Luke Savage and the Linda Reed.

The Linda Reed.

And the Neal Savage.

May there be more in the next few days.

Bruce Mansfield slated for closure

FirstEnergy announced today it wants to shut down the largest coal-fired power plant along the Ohio River and some units at another coal-fired plant along the river.

The plants in question are the Bruce Mansfield plant in Pennsylvania and the Sammis plant in Ohio. Details in the news release here.

I'll try to have more in the next few days.

Olmsted Locks and Dam, part 3 of ?

The big ribboncutting and dedication ceremony for the Olmsted Locks and Dam is tomorrow at 10 a.m. Central time, but the really cool stuff happens Friday.

This came out this morning from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Louisville District:




Olmsted Locks and Dam (Ohio River mile 964.6).

USACE will be closing the river chamber at 0800 CDT Friday 31 August 2018 to place the gates into miter. The land chamber will open to lock traffic throughout the day on Friday, 31 August 2018. At dusk on Friday, 31 August 2018 both chambers will be closed while project personnel progress raising the wicket dam. USACE anticipates the river closure to last until Monday, 3 September 2018. Once the river stabilizes the land chamber will be open to lock navigation traffic, and conditions will be monitored for the river chamber. USACE will monitor out draft conditions during the dam raising and may resume locking traffic on Saturday, 1 September 2018. Conditions will be actively monitored for excessive outdraft. Traffic movement will be coordinated with the ICE Committee.

So it appears that after the party is over, Olmsted goes into operation by beginning the process of raising its pool. If you figure the time it takes to raise all 1,400 wickets, the pool could be in place by mid-day or evening on Saturday.

Then the corps personnel who operate the locks will have to see what happens as boats try to use the locks with the wickets up and the five tainter gates controlling the river level. There’s a problem at Olmsted that you don’t have at the other locks on the Ohio because of a design feature. The lock guide walls float.

In this photo …

… you see the M/V Steve Golding going through the locks downbound last month. Olmsted has floating lock guide walls, with 5 feet above water and 11 feet below. Having floating lock guide walls next to the tainter gates has caused some problems for navigators. As Marty Hettel, vice president of government affairs for American Commercial Barge Line and chairman of the Inland Waterways Users Board, has said, there is a current that pulls boats away from the locks and toward the dam. He said the Corps is installing a curtain to eliminate or minimize the outdraft.

In any event, this coming weekend should give us the opportunity to see the Ohio River’s newest locks and dam in operation. There probably will be bugs. We’ll have to see what they are and whether they can be solved before the Corps’ goal of having Olmsted in full operation before the end of October.

More to come.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

M/V Jennifer Ann

Seen at Kenova and heading downriver this past Sunday.

Catlettsburg harbor was a busy place Sunday evening.

Monday, August 27, 2018

M/V MAP Runner

Entering the Big Sandy River on a Sunday evening.

There's a campground at the park in the background. There are times I wish I had a camper so I could park myself there a few days and watch the busyness at this spot.

Olmsted Locks and Dam, part 2 of ?

The thing about the Olmsted Locks and Dam that sets it apart from others on the Ohio, apart from the expense and time that were required to build it, is the fact that it seems to be a hybrid operation.

For part of the year, the dam is not needed to maintain the minimum navigation channel depth of 9 to 12 feet. Thus, part of the dam uses tainter gates the dams built since the 1950s do, and part will rely on wickets the way the dams built in the early 1900s do or did. Those would include Locks and Dam 52 and Locks and Dam 53, which Olmsted will replace.

With the benefit of more than a century of improvements in technology, Olmsted won’t be like your great-grandfather’s wicket dam. The navigable pass at Olmsted will be about 1,400 feet wide and will be controlled by 140 wickets. Each wicket is about 10 feet wide and 28 feet tall. They are made of steel and weigh about 33,000 pounds each.

There will be a gap of about 4 to 8 inches between wickets, and in times of low flow those gaps can be closed with needles, the same as at the old dams.

Each wicket will have a GPS locator, and the boat raises the wickets will be equipped with sonar to make sure each wicket is where it’s supposed to be. Wickets will be raised and lowered by a double-boom crane that moves across the river via a winch.

The process of raising all 1,400 wickets will take 24 to 36 hours. Last month and, I assume, into this month work crews have been training on raising and lowering wickets to ensure that all goes well when the dam goes into full operation.

The final work in installing 1,400 wickets at the Olmsted Lock and Dam and training in raising and lowering them was underway on July 25. For those who are curious, the boat on the far side of the river is the St. James of Marquette Transportation. If I recall correctly, the top of the wickets in the raised position will be level with the concrete weir on the far (Kentucky) side o f the river.

Because the herders, as the slots on the river bottom where the wickets’ supports are called, tend to fill with sand, gravel and debris, jetter nozzles will be used from time to time to blast that stuff out.

Sometime after the dam goes into operation, wickets will be on a 10-year replacement cycle, with 140 being removed and replaced each year.

I wish I had gotten the direct quote, but it was more in an informal question after the official press briefing at the dam last month. I asked Col. Antoinette Gant, commander of the Louisville District of the Army Corps of Engineers, if relying on wickets would mean trouble down the road. How could we be confident that 50 years from now that Olmsted would not be as big a problem as 52 is now, I asked. She was emphatic that with improvements in engineering and technology, Olmsted would be in better shape 50 years from now than 52 was at the same point in its life.

Up next: More on the dam, its unique construction and lessons learned.

P.S. If you’re interested in more information about the Olmsted project, you can view the media kit here. The official dedication and ribboncutting ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, on the Illinois side of the project. I wish I could be there, but time, money and transportation get in the way, as always.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

M/V Jackie Englert

She was in the Catlettsburg area today, so I had to go down and get a picture, even if she was sitting still at the place formerly known as Merdie Boggs & Sons.

Other boat pictures from a good evening at the mouth of the Big Sandy will follow, interspersed among the overdue Olmsted stuff.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Getting back on schedule

Sorry for the delay in the next segment of the Olmsted Locks and Dam saga, but it's been busy around here this past week. My son started university, my wife went back to college and I've been pretty much responsible for getting my granddaughter to and from kindergarten in a different attendance district. Those are just the things I can talk about before you all start thinking I'm whining.

On top of all that, I had to polish an article for The Waterways Journal. The same day I submitted the final form of that piece, I get a call from Marshall University saying the person who was supposed to teach a class in copyediting this semester wouldn't be showing up and would I be interested. I figured they must have been desperate to ask me, so I said sure. My first class would be the next day. I still have a syllabus to write and other stuff to do before the class meets again.

So that's why blogging has been light. That and I seem to have lost the memory card with a couple of towboat pictures I got this week. But there is this one to keep you entertained — I hope.

The plan now is to have the second installment of Olmsted up before the end of this weekend. That assumes life does not get in the way of my plans again. You never  know.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Olmsted saga (Part 1 of ?)

The M/V Steve Golding transits the riverward lock at the Olmsted Locks and Dam the morning of July 25, 2018. The Steve Golding was pushing four barges from Mount Vernon, Ind., to Memphis.

In the novel “The Lost World”, the sequel to “Jurassic Park”, Ian Malcolm and Doc Thorne are walking through the remains of InGen’s embryo lab at Site B on Isla Sorna. This was where the real work was done in using DNA from dinosaurs and from modern amphibians to produce the animals that tourists would see at Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar.

Doc Thorne wondered why such a large setup was necessary when the Isla Nublar guided tour gave the impression that eggs were fertilized and hatched there. Malcolm replied:

“And if you think about it, it couldn’t possibly be true. Hammond was claiming to manufacture extinct animals using cutting-edge technology. But with any new manufacturing technology, initial yields are low: on the order of one percent or less.”

The first time you try a new process, there will be a learning curve where things don’t happen on time or within budget. That curve can be pretty steep. Don’t ask me to read some of the first news articles I wrote more than forty years ago and praise them for their cleverness or their precision.

Those thoughts went through my head the morning of July 25 when I and several other journalists stood at the construction site of the Olmsted Locks and Dam and listened as people from the Corps of Engineers and from the inland marine industry talked about the innovative construction methods used to build what will be the largest and by far most expensive navigation dam on the Ohio River.

If I had allowed my mind to run a little more with that thought, I would have recalled how it took about 25 years for the state of West Virginia to build a two-lane bridge across the Ohio River at Huntington. As with the Olmsted project, that one involved designs and processes that were new to large bridges in this area, but that was not the only thing that delayed that bridge’s construction.

But thirty years and about $3.1 billion later, the Olmsted Locks and Dam is nearing completion. When it raises its pool and puts Locks and Dam 53 and Locks and Dam 52 out of service, it will mark the end of a process that began in the 1940s. Actually, it began in the 1930s, just a few years after the old system of low-lift wicket dams was finished.

The 10-20

The Olmsted Locks and Dam project is at River Mile 964.6. That places it 964.6 miles downriver of The Point in Pittsburgh, where the geographers tell us the Ohio River is formed when the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet. The Olmsted project is 16.9 miles above the mouth of the Ohio at Cairo, Ill. It’s also about 2 miles below Locks and Dam 53 and 25.7 miles below Locks and Dam 52, both of which Olmsted will replace.

Olmsted is also 29.6 or 30.6 miles below the mouth of the Tennessee River, depending on where you measure it, 41.6 miles below the mouth of the Cumberland River and 46.1 miles below the Smithland Locks and Dam, where its pool will end.

The Ohio River below Smithland is a different creature than it is for most of its length, especially the part above Louisville. It’s wider and shallower in most places, and it’s less likely to need dams to maintain year-round navigation. But dams are needed about half the year, so Olmsted is designed differently so it can account for that fact.

That different design is part of the reason Olmsted is so expensive and took so long to build. Innovative engineering and construction methods contributed to that, too.

The old Ohio River dam system, of which 52 and 53 are the sole remaining members, relied on wickets to maintain a navigable pool. Wickets were large oak timbers that could be raised to hold back the river when a dam was needed and then lowered to the river bed when it wasn’t. Modern Ohio River dams, beginning with New Cumberland in the Pittsburgh District, Greenup in the Huntington District and the rebuilt McAlpine in the Louisville District, instead rely on tainter gates.

The newer dams have a fixed sill, and tainter gates control the flow of water going over it. The gates swivel on hinges built into the dam piers. They are raised to let more water through the dam during period of higher flow and lowered to reduce the flow when flow is low. At some dams the gates are shut completely when the flow is very low but still enough to feed a hydroelectric power plant built on the shore opposite the locks.

Olmsted will have both. It will have a wicket section, known as the navigable pass, that’s 1,400 feet wide, and it will have five tainter gates. When flow is low, the wickets will be raised and the tainter gates will control river flow. When flow is high enough that the dam is not needed to provide the required depth for a navigable channel to Smithland, the wickets will be lowered and boats will travel through the navigable pass.

When the wickets are up, boats will have to use the locks on the Illinois side. Each lock is 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long.

Olmsted sits near the hub if the inland river navigation system. The point where the Ohio and the Upper Mississippi meet there at Cairo is one of the busiest in the nation. Thus it was important to keep traffic flowing while Olmsted was under construction. Typically that would have been done by building cofferdams in the river so construction workers could do their jobs in dry conditions unaffected by river current or river traffic. But the Louisville District of the Corps of Engineers that would not work, so they used a method called in-the-wet that had been used in deepwater environments but never before on a large navigation project in a river. And that’s where the problems started.

Up Next: Innovation and setbacks

Friday, August 17, 2018

Column picked up

My thanks to the Waterways Council Inc. for picking up this column I wrote for The Herald-Dispatch of Huntington about the need for waterways infrastructure investment. Here's the link back to the original column.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Speedway growth

Marathon Petroleum boats are a familiar sight on the Ohio River. One of them is named the Speedway, which also is a Marathon operation that is growing substantially, as this article explains. Most of the growth is outside the Ohio Valley, but still, growth is growth.

Another problem at Locks and Dam 52

This came out yesterday, and for some reason my email provider sent it to the spam box, so I didn't see it until today.

There's another problem at Locks and Dam 52. From a navigation notice:

The primary (1200’) lock chamber at Locks and Dam 52 will be closed for 48 hours between Saturday August 25th and Tuesday August 28th. Marietta Repair Station will be performing repairs to the lower miter gate. Inflows coming into the project site will dictate whether or not the auxiliary chamber is open or closed due to out draft conditions.

I wonder if the Corps of  Engineers will lay off half its repair fleet when the old dam goes out of service permanently here in a few weeks, if all goes according to schedule.

Monday, August 13, 2018

M/V Ray S

This boat passed Huntington yesterday, but I almost missed the picture because ... well, check the bottom of this entry.

The M/V Ray S is owned by Enterprise Marine Services of Houma, La. It was built in 2017 and is 96 feet long by 34 feet wide and 10.8 feet deep.

My younger son, Adam, and I were crossing a bridge when I saw the Ray S heading up the river past Huntington. I figured  I could get a good picture at a park in a residential area. That's where boats come fairly close to shore before going around a sharp bent to the right.

As we drove on a residential street near the park, Adam began laughing. He said he just saw a woman pulling weeds while a shirtless guy played the trombone. Only in Huntington, he said. We had to get the picture, so we circled the block. By the time we got back there, they were walking away. The photo op was gone.

When we got to the park, the boat was passing us and I didn't have time to get down to the river  bank, so this was what I could get.

I would rather have gotten a picture of the woman being serenaded by a trombone player as she pulled weeds, but you take what you can get.

Sunday, August 12, 2018


Today The Herald-Dispatch of Huntington ran my column on investment in river infrastructure.

I'll have more on this later this week.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Lock problems at Montgomery

Steps are being taken to keep commerce flowing on the upper part of the Ohio River before a lock failure forces a complete shutdown of unknown duration.

The Pittsburgh District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued this news release Aug. 2:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District awarded a $1.09-million contract recently to C. J. Mahan Construction Company, LLC of Columbus, Ohio to install a temporary repair to the severely cracked and unstable middle-lock wall at the Ohio River’s Montgomery Lock and Dam near Monaca, Pennsylvania.
Engineers calculate that the middle wall, which separates the lock’s two chambers, has a 50-percent chance of failing by 2028 if left unaddressed.
A middle-wall failure would halt navigation on the upper Ohio River, significantly impacting shipments of coal, heating oil, aggregates, road salt and other vital commodities.
The temporary repair is an interim measure meant to slow the wall’s deterioration rate until a permanent fix can be performed. Repairs are anticipated to take approximately 1.5 years.
Temporary lock closures and delays may occur during the work, which is expected to start later this year.
“This vital effort to reduce the risk of failure at Montgomery Lock and Dam will help ensure that we are providing safe and reliable navigation, which greatly contributes to the regional economy,” said Col. Andrew J. Short, commander, Pittsburgh District.
A permanent solution to address conditions at Montgomery is planned as part of the authorized $2.7-billion Upper Ohio Navigation Project. The solution will involve construction of new 110-feet-wide by 600-feet-long lock chambers at each of the first three Ohio River navigation facilities at Emsworth, Dashields and Montgomery.
The Upper Ohio Navigation Project is currently in the engineering and design phase while concurrently undergoing an economic re-evaluation of the project benefits.
Barging bulk commodities on the area’s three rivers provides significant benefits to the region. It significantly reduces the wear and tear on roadways, causes considerably less pollution than other modes of transportation and reduces the cost of electricity due to transportation rate savings over truck and rail delivery of coal.
The district’s navigation structures not only provide reliable river commerce, but they create sustained pools that provide water supply for drinking, industrial use, firefighting and other uses. The sustained pools provided by navigation dams also encourage riverfront and economic development within the region.
Pittsburgh District’s 26,000 square miles include portions of western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, eastern Ohio, western Maryland and southwestern New York. It includes more than 328 miles of navigable waterways, 23 navigation locks and dams, 16 multi-purpose flood control reservoirs, 42 local flood-protection projects and other projects to protect and enhance the nation’s water resources infrastructure and environment.

The Montgomery Locks and Dam is in Pennsylvania at Mile 31.7. It was built in the 1930s.

Unlike at Locks and Dam 52 on the lower Ohio, a lock failure at Montgomery would shut down the entire river to traffic, as there is no navigable pass at Montgomery that boats can use to bypass the locks when the river is running high.

Perhaps someday the Ohio will have all its navigation infrastructure updated and in great shape so more attention can be given to other rivers. Especially to projects where the need is not critical but some upgrades would prevent another situation like that at Montgomery.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Locks and Dam 52, Part 4: The M/V Odette Cenac

For the final part of this series before I take a little break to organize a humongous amount of material about the Olmsted Locks and Dam, here are ten photos of the M/V Odette Cenac locking through 52 downbound on July 25. No comments except for these three:

One photo shows the M/V Chuck Piepmeier in its role of a helper boat getting another tow aligned  to enter the locks, just as it did the Odette Cenac a few minutes earlier. I did not get the name of the other boat.

And if you want to hear the groaning noises the upper lock gates make when they open (in this case reluctantly for some reason) check out this video on YouTube.

The final comment is after the last photo.

There was one other aspect of the visit to Locks and Dam 52 that stuck me that has nothing to do with the condition of the dam itself. I'll get to it in a later entry.

Locks and Dam 52, Part 3: Shippers' frustrations

The part of the Ohio River from Paducah, Ky., to the mouth at Cairo, Ill., is the busiest, and along with the Mississippi River there at Cairo, it forms what has been called the hub of the inland river transportation system because of the amount of cargo that moves through there.

One boat heads up the Ohio River while another waits its turn to enter Locks and Dam 52. Boats tied up waiting to use the lock are a common sight in the Paducah area.

Yet because of continuing problems at Locks and Dam 52 there between Paducah and Brookport, Ill., it's also the most trouble to those who ship by river and those who operate the boats.

Locks and dams 52 and 53 are to be taken out of service and replaced by the new Olmsted Locks and Dam a mile or so below 53 sometime in the next two months. It can't come soon enough for shippers.

The big advantage Olmsted will have over the older dams, which are nearing their 90th birthdays, is reliability, said Daniel Mecklenborg, senior vice president, chief legal officer and secretary of Ingram Barge Co., at an event in Paducah last week to brief media on the problems at 52 and what Olmsted means to shippers.

Inefficiencies at 52 and 53 “are just killers for us,” he said.

"The need to re-invest in infrastructure like Olmsted is absolutely critical."

Daniel Mecklenborg

The past three summers, mechanical problems at 52 have caused the river to be closed to navigation.

Check out this news release issued by the Louisville District on Tuesday, July 10, 2018:

The navigation pass at Lock and Dam 52 (Ohio River Mile 938.9), Brookport, Illinois, is now closed to river traffic to facilitate diving operations for wicket repairs on the dam. ...

The dive deflector box is being installed and diving operations will commence to repair/replace wickets. Repairs to the navigable pass wickets will add reliability to the dam and allow for a potentially shorter dam raising. Keeping Lock and Dam 52 operational is required for construction and training benefits at Olmsted Locks and Dam.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is mitigating the closure by preparing the 1200’ foot lock chamber for navigation, which is planned to be operational for locking river traffic by Wednesday, July 11. The navigable pass is also expected to reopen to river traffic on Wednesday during nighttime hours when daily diving operations have concluded.

Or this one, dated Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017:

The Ohio River is closed at Locks and Dam 52 (Ohio River Mile 938.9) at Brookport, Illinois. ...

While raising the wicket dam on Thursday, Sept.7, 2017 project personnel encountered a problem area and were unable to continue raising the wickets due to high velocity flows around the end of the dam.

The Corps is currently working multiple courses of action in order to continue raising the remaining 676 ft. of wicket dam and impound a navigable pool. ...

Or this news release issued by the Louisville District on  Thursday,Sept. 15, 2016:

LOUISVILLE, KY. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District reopened navigation traffic Wednesday at approximately 8 p.m. Central Time at Ohio River Locks and Dam 52 at Brookport, Illinois, after workers successfully raised the dam.

The Corps reduced water releases from Smithland Locks and Dam upstream around 3 a.m. Wednesday to provide better river conditions for the Corps to raise dam wickets at Locks and Dam 52. The reduced water releases resulted in a lower pool level, which stopped commercial navigation from locking through Locks and Dam 52 around 5 a.m.  

Based on the contingency plan to hold pool at the dam, the Corps had announced it could take up to seven days to reopen the river to commercial traffic. If the low river conditions had not been addressed, based on National Weather Service forecasts and historical data, the project could have lost pool and caused weeks of navigation impacts.  ...

The Corps closed the locks at 52 after the dam lost three wickets when their base connections failed and attempts to raise remaining wickets were unsuccessful because of river and dam conditions.

It seems that every year, national media discover the problems at 52 and bring attention to them, such as this piece in the New York Times two years ago.

Marty Hettel, vice president of government affairs for American Commercial Barge Line and chairman of the Inland Waterways Users Board, described the ongoing problems at 52 with a few numbers.

It takes three days to raise the dam, Hettel said. But 63 wickets are inoperable, meaning 13 percent of the dam has failed.

“Thank goodness we’ve had enough precipitation to hold pool at 52,” he said.

Hettel said the Corps has a contractor on site with rock to build a dike around the dam should it be needed to hold the pool.

Last year, some factories last year had to send people home because they couldn’t get material delivered thanks to problems at 52, Hettel said.

Matt Ricketts, president and CEO of Crouse Corp., said export coal is a market that’s been active for a year or so. Most coal that moves by water moves on the Ohio and its tributaries, he said.

“When you look at export coal in particular, 52 and Olmsted are critical” because of the volume that moves from Illinois and Kentucky to New Orleans, Ricketts said. Shipments must be timed so coal mined in West Virginia can meet an ocean vessel in New Orleans at a certain time, he said.

There is still some construction work at Olmsted, and crews that will raise and lower the wickets there are training. The day after industry spokesmen talked about 52 and Olmsted, the Corps conducted a media tour so people could see Olmsted  up close.

Col. Antoinette Gant, commander of the Corps' Louisville District, said Olmsted will be operational soon and the wickets at 52 and 53 will be lowered for good.

"Have no fear. Olmsted  is near," she said.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Locks and Dam 52, Part 2: Images

If you're used to seeing the big concrete and steel dams that control most of the Ohio River, your first look at Locks and Dam 52 might be ... perplexing.

Unlike those modern structures that can be seen for miles, this one has to be seen close up to get an idea of what much of the Ohio River navigation system looked like from about 1912 to about 1962.

It sounds different, too. Water coming through the Tainter gates of the modern dams makes a roar. Water flowing through the wickets of 52 is more like a soothing waterfall. Not soothing to the pilots who must navigate the locks or to the dam workers who must raise and lower those wickets according to river conditions, but soothing to a visitor, perhaps.

Following are images captured during a visit to Locks and Dam 52 on July 25. I had asked to visit either Locks and Dam 52 or 53, but the wickets at 53 were down that day. I did get to visit 53 back in 1986, before everything was fenced off following 9/11, but the wickets were down then, too.

All these photos from 52 were taken at the top of the bank. For safety reasons, the Corps would not allow me to go down beside the locks while boats were locking. They let me do that in 1986. I even walked out over the locks and boarded the maneuver boat, but that was then. Things change in 32 years.

Here goes:

The dam as seen from down the river. A worker told me the wickets in the center were down to allow river flow to pass through. I thought that normally was done by the beartraps when the dam is up, but the beartraps apparently are in as bad shape as the wicket section is.

And the dam seen from above, as much as can be seen.

In the foreground is the sign on the 1,200-foot lock letting boat workers know how far they are below the upper gates. Then there's a gap, the original 600-foot lock and the dam. It looks like something has taken a chunk out of the old lock wall.

Here's the lower end of the old lock wall.

If you want to catch how the water sounds coming through the dam, check out this video I uploaded to YouTube. It was done with a cell phone. It was hand held, which explains the movement of the camera during the 20 seconds of video.

The land wall of the long lock is made of steel cells filled with concrete. Between the cells are sections of steel to fill the gaps. I didn't county how many there were, but many were like this, but many had been corroded away completely.

In case you're wondering how the lock holds water when the wall has this many holes in it, there is additional material at each end of the lock. Still, it probably increases the time it takes the deteriorating valve system to fill and empty the lock during lockages.

The building where the lockmaster has his office.

And some of the old worker housing.

When the wicket dams were built in the period from about 1908 to 1929, they included places for workers to live. Some of those old houses survive, but many have been demolished. These looked as though they had not been used in a while, and there was driftwood on the sidewalk in front of them, so I'm guess no one lives in them. But, as usual, I could be wrong.

I didn't have time to run up to Golconda, Ill., where Lock and Dam 51 was replaced by the Smithland Locks and Dam in 1980. From what it looked like on Google Maps, the old houses there were saved and repurposed.

There were several boats in the dam area that day.

That would include the mv. Amy Gettle, seen here heading up the Ohio after making the 52 lock. The mv. Chuck Piepmeier helped boats enter the main lock from upriver. It was good to see the  Piepmeier again.

Finally, 52 as seen from the Interstate 24 bridge.

This was one of those shots where I steered with my left hand while watching the road and aimed the camera in the general direction of the dam while hoping I would get one usable shot from about a dozen clicks. I did get one. This one.

Up next: Industry folks talk about the problems 52 gives them. Then a few more photos from 52 to wrap things up before we move on to the 30-year, $3 billion solution at Omsted.