Montgomery Lock and Dam Reopens After Crash, Set to Close Again

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 
15 December 2015
By Aaron Aupperlee

The Montgomery Lock and Dam will close again this weekend as the Army Corps of Engineers continues to make repairs because a tow boat struck one of the lock's gates.

The Army Corps of Engineers will shut down the lock from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon, causing Ohio River traffic near Shippingport to halt again.

The lock reopened Tuesday, nearly 48 hours after Sunday's accident.

A tow boat pushing a load of coal up river ran into a gate of the large lock chamber about 3:30 p.m. Neither the Coast Guard nor the Army Corps of Engineers has released the name of the tow boat. Details about how the crash occurred and how much damage it caused have not been released.

The Army Corps of Engineers reopened the lock at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“Nothing we can do about it,” said Rick Chandler, a boat dispatcher for Amherst Madison, a Charleston, W.Va., barge company. “It's one of those grin-and-bear-it (situations). You can't jump it. We're just going to have to wait it out.”

Amherst Madison's William R. Barr, a tow boat pushing six loads of coal up river and eight empty barges, arrived at the lock Tuesday morning and waited hours to pass through.

Eight boats, including the William R. Barr, were waiting to pass through the locks Tuesday. It could take a boat up to three hours to pass through the lock, which is capable of raising or lowering boats and barges 17.5 feet.

The lock will operate at slower speeds with several restrictions requiring boats to move slower, use fenders and lines, and limit the number of barges moving through the chamber.

About 300 boats pass through the 80-year-old lock system each month, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. A smaller, 56-by-360-foot lock was closed for repairs when the larger, 110-by-600-foot lock closed because of the crash.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-320-7986 or

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