News Releases

Corps of Engineers officials: Bonneville navigation lock to return to service Sept. 30

Published Sept. 11, 2019

The Bonneville navigation lock will return to service, allowing vessels to pass through the lock, beginning 10 a.m. Sept. 30, according to officials at the Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“It’s important to recognize the patience from our Columbia River users, who depend on this critical piece of infrastructure to run their businesses,” said Portland District Commander Col. Aaron Dorf.

“This lock closure is significant, which is why our engineers, experts and contractors are working tirelessly to ensure we get the locks back in service as quickly as possible. It is not lost on anyone in the Portland District that this outage has tremendous impacts to Columbia River users,” he said. “Between now and Sept. 30, our teams will be working around the clock to construct the new sill to restore Columbia River traffic.”

The navigation lock was closed on Thursday, Sept. 5 after lock operators detected problems with the lock during operation.

Engineers “dewatered” the lock Sept. 6, performed an inspection and discovered that the downstream concrete sill, a structure against which lock gates create a water-tight seal, had cracks.

The Corps then closed the lock to vessels on the river.

According to the Portland District engineering team, the damage they observed was unusual, and the periodic inspections of the dam, last performed January 2017, did not reveal any abnormalities.

Portland District awarded the emergency repair contract to Advanced American Construction, based here in Portland, and crews began demolition and removal of the concrete sill, which measures approximately 5 ft. tall, 9 1/2 ft. wide and about 100 ft. long. 

Work on the lock will include demolition, drilling holes for rebar, forming the new sill structure and allowing time for the concrete to cure.

For the duration of the repairs, the Bradford Island Visitor Center, as well as recreation areas on Bradford and Robins islands, (Oregon side) are temporarily closed due to the navigation lock issue.

The fish hatchery at Bonneville is unaffected by the navigation lock and open to visitors; officials encourage visitors to be aware of construction traffic while driving through the Bonneville Dam project area. The Corps’ Washington Shore Visitor Complex is also open, and features interactive exhibits, powerhouse tours and fish viewing.

For the latest information, photos and updates on the Bonneville navigation lock repair, visit the Portland District website at, our Facebook page or twitter

Portland District Public Affairs Office

Release no. 19-019

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