COLUMBIA & SNAKE RIVERS, Ore. & Wash. --
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct routine annual inspections, preventative maintenance and repairs at all navigation locks on the Columbia and Snake rivers during March.
Walla Walla District dams with navigation locks include: McNary Dam, located near Umatilla, Oregon, at Columbia River mile 292; Ice Harbor; near Burbank, Washington, at Snake River mile 10; Lower Monumental, near Kahlotus, Washington, at Snake River mile 41; Little Goose, near Starbuck, Washington, at Snake River mile 70 and Lower Granite Dam, near Pomeroy, Washington, at Snake River mile 107. Portland District’s Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day navigation locks are located at Columbia River miles 145, 191 and 216, respectively.
All locks in the inland navigation system will close to recreational and commercial river traffic on Saturday, March 2, at 6 a.m. Ice Harbor, McNary, John Day, The Dalles and Bonneville locks are scheduled to reopen at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 17. Lower Monumental, Lower Granite and Little Goose locks are scheduled to return to service at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 24. The additional days at these dams are necessary to perform non-routine work which will require more time to complete than the typical two-week-long routine maintenance outage. The non-routine work includes, but is not limited to, gate structural repairs, navigation lock concrete repair and equipment/machinery repair/replacement.
Currently, Ice Harbor remains temporarily closed while maintenance staff and engineers address mechanical alignment issues occurring in the downstream gate hoist machinery. The lock was placed out of service on Saturday, Feb. 23. During operational testing Monday, Feb. 25, Corps staff at the dam took the opportunity to perform a downstream lockage for Tidewater towboat “Crown Point” and four grain barges, allowing it to continue its journey down the river. Today, Feb. 26, maintenance crews are also repairing damaged grease lines and removing ice build-up on the gate which may be contributing to motor-overload conditions. It is uncertain at this time if Ice Harbor’s lock will return-to-service prior to the scheduled annual lock maintenance outage. The Corps will continue to provide updated information to commercial stakeholders and the public, as it develops.
In the Walla Walla District, annual lock-maintenance work activities may require the temporary suspension of public vehicle crossings at Lower Monumental, Little Goose and/or Lower Granite dams, located on the lower Snake River in Washington, to accommodate work activities as it becomes necessary during the annual navigation lock maintenance outage. The public will be notified about closures, if possible, in advance, but the crossing is still subject to closing at any time. Travelers are strongly encouraged to call 1-888-DAM-INFO (1-888-326-4636) well in advance of arrival for the most current dam-crossing information.
Recreational vessel owners can find information on Corps-managed boat launches in the Walla Walla District at www.nww.usace.army.mil/corpsoutdoors. Portland District recreation information is online at www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation.aspx.
To maintain safe and reliable passage through this valuable navigation system, the Corps districts coordinate these annual closures with inland shippers and cruise lines to achieve minimal impact to the various industries that use the locks. Public Notices and other navigation lock information are available on the Walla Walla District website at www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation.aspx, and on Portland District’s website at www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation.aspx.
The Corps’ Portland and Walla Walla districts maintain the commercial navigation route from the Pacific Ocean 465 miles inland to Lewiston, Idaho. The Columbia-Snake inland navigation system provides important benefits to businesses and the public. Barging on the inland Columbia-Snake river system moves on average approximately 9 million tons of cargo valued at over $3 billion each year, supporting economic vitality for the Northwest and neighboring states that use the navigation channel. The navigation system helps generate jobs, facilitates imports and exports, and contributes to a stronger economy, environment and quality of life for the region.
*UPDATE - Feb. 27, 2019: Ice Harbor Dam's navigation will reopen to provide limited operations for commercial vessel traffic Feb. 27 through March 1, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. More info: https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/1768830/19-018-ice-harbor-navigation-lock-returns-to-service-feb-27/