PORTLAND —The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will close navigation locks at dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers in March to conduct routine annual inspections, preventative maintenance and repairs to major lock systems like gates, valves, pumps and electrical gear.
All eight navigation locks will close to recreational and commercial river traffic at 6 a.m. Saturday, March 1.
Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day and McNary navigation locks at Columbia River miles 145, 191, 216 and 292, respectively, and Lower Granite at Snake River mile 107 are scheduled to resume service at 11:59 p.m. on March 15.
On the Snake River, Ice Harbor (mile 10) and Lower Monumental (mile 41), Little Goose (mile 70) navigation locks are slated to reopen March 22.
The additional week is needed to perform not only routine inspections and maintenance, but also some non-routine work, including gate machinery replacement at Ice Harbor, gudgeon crack welding at Little Goose and an in-depth periodic inspection at Lower Monumental.
The Corps coordinates these annual closures with inland shippers and cruise lines to achieve minimal impact to the various industries that use the locks.
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 navigation system is vital to the economic health of the Pacific Northwest. The system accommodated an average of 17.5 million short tons of cargo annually from 1999 to 2008, according to the Corps’ Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center. 10 million tons equals about 2,700 barges, 100,000 railcars or 350,000 semi-trucks.
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.