Ballard locks to close for repairs at end of month

by Tim Flanagan on January 17, 2012

Deborah Bach has ths story at Three Sheets Northwest:


[Water, order nature’s most destructive force, eroded a portion of the small lock wall at the 95-year old Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. The locks are expected to close to traffic for a few days at the end of the month. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers]

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard are expected to close to all traffic for a few days near the end of January to fix erosion problems caused by Mother Nature’s most destructive force — water.

Decades of water rushing by has eroded an area in a wall of the small lock, causing an elongated scour, or small ditch. The scour was detected by a sonar survey in 2009. During a subsequent dive inspection, a void smaller than the scour was also noticed under the small lock foundation in the same area.

William Dowell of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the locks, said the work is not just regular maintenance.

“This is erosion from years of water and probably debris going by this area,” he said. “Think of the Grand Canyon and what water did there over millions of years.”

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