Blasting Under Way at Locks and Dam No. 4
Washington PA Observer Reporter
20 December 2012
Workers began blasting a section of the old upstream guard wall
Wednesday at Locks and Dam No. 4 along the Monongahela River in
Charleroi as part of the construction of a new river chamber.
Lockmaster Paul Meininger said the top half of the wall had
already been demolished by a concrete-busting machine, leaving
contractors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use
computer-controlled explosives to blast the submerged portion.
Meininger said blasting on a 60-foot section of the wall went
smoothly and the chamber was closed for only about three hours
Wednesday. Crews are hoping to take on a longer piece of the wall
next time, he said.
“What they’re going to do is blast it all before they remove any
(debris) from the river,” Meininger said.
This particular phase of blasting and debris removal is slated to
be complete by March 1.
Described as a concrete bumper designed to take a beating, the
wall had served to keep boats from being drawn toward the dam as
they enter the chamber, Meininger explained.
With regard to the forthcoming improvements, Meininger said the
new chamber will be wider and twice as long as the current one.
The present site of Locks and Dam No. 4 was completed in 1932 and
later underwent a major rehabilitation project that wrapped up in
More recent plans to update the crumbling navigational locks and
dams in Charleroi, Elizabeth and Braddock were authorized by
Congress in 1992, but went underfunded in nearly every subsequent
federal infrastructure bill. Given the funding issues and
increasing costs, the work in its totality isn’t expected to be
finished until 2024.
In early 2010, Locks and Dam No. 4 celebrated $67 million in new
construction work funded through the federal Recovery Act.