Chittenden Locks Large chamber begins 24-day closure October 29

Published Oct. 26, 2018

SEATTLE – The large lock at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard is scheduled to close to all marine traffic from 9 a.m. October 29 to 8 p.m. Nov. 21 for annual maintenance and additional gate work.

The small lock will still be available for vessels less than 120 feet in length and 26 feet in width throughout the large lock maintenance period. Emergency vessels have priority, followed by government, commercial and then recreational. Mariners may experience delays, depending on passage demand. Mariners may experience delays, depending on passage demand.

The annual maintenance allows U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews to perform routine maintenance necessary and important in keeping the 101-year-old Chittenden Locks safe and operational for years to come.  This year additional work is adding about a week onto the typical closure period. The extended closure is to repair and replace the center gate gudgeon pins.

In 2019, the large chamber is projected to begin the first of several extended 45-day closures to replace the valve gates, which are original to the century-old locks. The valve gates open and close, allowing water to flow through the large tunnels to raise and lower levels in the chamber.

“The parts are underwater and have lasted more than 100 years because of our maintenance program,” said Operations Project Manager Jon Hofstra. “They are beyond their service life and parts are no longer available. If they fail, it could mean the large chamber would be closed months and months. That would be economically devastating.”

The projected 45-day closure dates are:



October 12 through November 30



February 12 through April 2

October 12 through November 30



February 12 through April 2

November 9 through November 24

For current information about activities at the Locks, visit the Locks’ Web site at or follow the Locks on Facebook and Twitter: and

Bill Dowell

Release no. 18-067