Corps replacing spillway gates at Chittenden Locks in Ballard

Published April 14, 2014

SEATTLE – The Corps is replacing the six spillway tainter gates at the Chittenden Locks, starting April 21, with completion scheduled by the end of August 2014.  These gates maintain the water elevation for Lake Washington.  Preparation work begins April 21, with the first two of the six gates scheduled for removal the morning of April 22. 

Removal and replacement of the gates will require temporary closing of the pedestrian walkway between the north and south sections of the Locks.  Navigation through the Locks is not affected and will continue as usual. 

To keep inconvenience to a minimum, the Corps is scheduling replacement work so the walkway will be closed less than 4 hours each day, and only 2 days a week. 

Closure times will be:

Posted on both sides of the bridge walkway ahead of time.

Shown on the Locks website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Available by calling 206-783-7000.

The spillway tainter gates were originally placed in service at the Locks in 1916.  In 1944, the gates were refurbished due to corrosion.  The last maintenance was done in 1988, when the gates were painted.  Because of the age of the materials, corrosion due to the environment in which they operate, and an obsolete design which leaves them weaker and less resilient than modern gates, the Corps is replacing them with new gates. 

The new spillway gates have an updated design.  The gates will operate more efficiently, be easier to maintain, and last a very long time. They are being replaced under a single contract and fabricated offsite.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the Chittenden Locks, the busiest locks in the nation, with 50,000 vessels locking through each year.  For current information about activities at the Locks, visit the Locks’ website at or follow the Locks on Facebook and Twitter: and

Steve Cosgrove

Release no. 14-018