UMRA Fighting To Keep Locks Open

31 July 2012
By Andrew Clay, Monongalia and Preston County Reporter

The US Army Corps of Engineers plans to cut service to several locks in the Monongahela River, but a local group is fighting to keep them open.

On Tuesday, the Upper Monongahela River Association (UMRA) asked the Morgantown City Council to support a resolution it has drafted and a plan to present to the Corps of Engineers.

The association calls the resolution 'a comprise.' It's comprised of 14 points that include keeping all three locks operational.

"It is not acceptable to close Opekiska and Hildebrand permanently," said UMRA Vice President Barry Pallay. "There is no public access to the Hildebrand pool, and in the Morgantown pool, the Uffington boat ramp is the only other access aside from the lock and that's silted in."

The resolution calls for the Opekiska and Hildebrand locks to remain open for 45 days a year rather than being closed. Pallay said currently, the locks are operational for 91 days.

The resolution also requests that the Morgantown lock stay open daily.

The Army Corps of Engineers is planning the reduced service as result of significant budget cuts from more than $8 million to $4 million.