The large lock chamber at the Chittenden Locks in Ballard will close to all vessel traffic 5:30 a.m. February 12 to replace the chamber’s filling culvert valves. It will remain closed for up to 53 days, with a scheduled reopening April 4.
That’s a month longer than the typical November two- to three-week annual maintenance closure. The small chamber will remain open during this time and vessels up to 28-feet wide by 123-feet long are able to use it.
"We were able to meet our scheduled re-opening date with our first closure in the fall, and we’re extremely confident we’ll be back in operation by no later than April 4,” said Locks Operations Manager Jon Hofstra.
A contract to replace the original large lock chamber’s 102-year-old filling culvert gates at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard was awarded to Ferndale, Washington, headquartered IMCO for their $10.5 million bid. The work replaces the original valves, called Stoney Gate Valves, designed and originally used during the Panama Canal construction.
The Stoney Gate Valves are under water during regular operations and seal off the 8-feet-6-inch wide by 14-feet tall filling culverts.
“The contractor is jack hammering out old components that extend up nearly 30 feet in a space that is only about 3-feet wide,” said Project Manager Peter Gibson. “Once demolition is complete, forms will be erected to create the new valve component space and then concrete poured."
That installation requires drilling about 600 holes up to 1-inch in diameter and 20-inches deep into the concrete.
Beginning February 17, the contractor will be running crews 24 hours a day. The work will be in the machine access area below ground, so the sound will be muted, but this will create crane and equipment activities topside. This 24 hour work schedule will continue for three weeks.
The next extended closure schedule is October 12 through December 3, 2020.
The regular annual lock maintenance closure is expected to return in fall 2021, currently set for November 9 through 24.
For more information about scheduled and projected Chittenden Lock closures visit https://go.usa.gov/xVtpE For closures and other activities visit the Locks’ Web site at http://bit.ly/BallardLocks Also follow the Locks on Facebook and Twitter: www.facebook.com/chittendenlocks and http://twitter.com/ChittendenLocks
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the Chittenden Locks. The busiest in the nation, nearly 50,000 vessels lock through each year.