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Mar-02-2008 20:04printcomments

Damaged Gate at John Day Lock Replaced

The gate at John Day was damaged late February 28th when the Sundial's barge came into contact with the upstream gate while the lock chamber was filling.

Gate replacement at the John Day Locks, 3-2-08
Photos of the gate replacement at the John Day Locks courtesy: The Army Corps of Engineers

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers successfully removed the damaged gate at the John Day lock Sunday and were expected to re-open the lock to river traffic under restricted operations by 6:00 PM today.

Using two cranes, the Corps lifted the 125-ton upper gate out of its housing and placed it on two barges. The damaged gate will remain moored at the John Day project until engineers determine if the gate can be repaired or must be replaced.

A remote operating vehicle equipped with cameras was lowered into the lock chamber to assess the underwater situation before the Corps cleared the tug Sundial to move its barges upstream of the lock under its own power.

"We wanted to be certain there was no debris or other hazards once the gate was removed," said Dwane Watsek, Portland District Operations chief. "No dangers were found and the Sundial left the lock chamber just after 3:00 PM."

Crews are preparing a temporary floating bulkhead that will act as a gate, allowing the lock to re-open. The bulkhead will be floated into place by a Corps boat.

"After the temporary gate is in place, traffic will be able to pass through," Watsek said. Locking through will be slower under the restricted operations.

"During normal operations it takes about 20 minutes to lock through, but the temporary gate will take about 90 minutes, because the gate must be moved manually each time," Watsek added. Nevertheless, Corps officials are relieved the river will be reopened to traffic.

"We are very pleased with how this operation was handled and the professionalism of the crane crews and our employees," Watsek said. "The goal was to safely remove the gate and place it on the barges. That happened and now we can focus on getting the lock gate repaired."

The gate at John Day was damaged late February 28th when the Sundial's barge came into contact with the upstream gate while the lock chamber was filling. The incident immediately halted all river traffic through the lock.

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