Monday, March 19, 2018

Olmsted Locks and Dam nearing completion

According to this article by Heather Ervin in The Waterways Journal, the Olmsted Locks and Dam could go into operation this October. Still to be determined is when Locks and Dam 53 and Locks and Dam 52 will go out of service and be removed.

Back in 1986, I was allowed to spend a morning at Locks and Dam 52, thanks to the help of Martin Pedigo and Chuck Schumann, who were the public affairs officers for the Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In those pre-9/11 days, I was told I could walk around anywhere and take pictures of anything. The wickets were up, and I got to go on the maneuver boat and feel the heat of the boilers.

Later that day I dropped by Locks and Dam 53. The dam was down and an Ingram boat was transiting the navigable pass. I saw two boys coming up from the river bank carrying fishing poles.

Nowadays you can drive up to the gate of 53 and that's about it. If I can collect enough quarters, perhaps I can sweet talk the corps into letting me visit 53 sometime this summer. If not, I'll always have 1986.

One thing I've been wondering about is how people along the river will see their lives change when Olmsted raises its pool. The new, deeper pool means some places where people such as my friends fish and where people such as myself go for some peace and relaxation will be under water this time next year. This summer could be the last for people to enjoy familiar beaches.

But I don't know that for sure. If anyone does, please let me know.