Chittenden Locks small chamber closing for annual maintenance January 6

Published Dec. 16, 2019

SEATTLE – The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks small chamber will close to marine traffic 5:30 a.m. January 6 through 4 p.m. January 24, 2020.

The small chamber typically closes for annual maintenance in March, but needs to close earlier due to the large chamber Stoney Gate Valve Project scheduled closure February 12 through April 3, 2020. That project is replacing the large chamber’s 102-year-old filling culvert gates.

For the small chamber closure crews will conduct maintenance and safety inspections, and repair a valve that is not operating correctly.

“We want to ensure the small lock is in good working order before the next large chamber closure,” said Operations Project Manager Jon Hofstra.

Valve gates for both chambers are underwater during regular operations and access is only available when the chambers are dewatered. The first of four large chamber’s scheduled closures to replace the Stoney Gate Valves took place October 12 through November 30, opening for half chamber lockages three days earlier than the scheduled December 3 reopening. Full chamber lockages did resume December 3.

Foot traffic will not be affected during the small chamber closure and the large lock will continue around-the-clock operations for vessels. Lock wall staff will get commercial traffic through as quickly as possible.

All pleasure boats will use the large lock and boaters should be prepared with appropriate equipment and crew. Large lock requirements include long lines and fenders on board. Current locking through information is available at Mariners may experience delays, depending on passage demand.

Most machinery and equipment, including gates and valves, are original to the 102-year-old facility. The annual closure gives dam safety experts and maintenance staff the chance to dry out the chambers for thorough inspections and to make necessary repairs. The routine maintenance is important to project safety and continued operation.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the Chittenden Locks. The busiest in the nation, nearly 40,000 vessels lock through each year.

For information about scheduled and projected Chittenden Locks closures visit For other activities visit the Locks’ Web site at Also follow the Locks on Facebook and Twitter at and

Bill Dowell

Release no. 19-041