77,000-pound Repair Bulkheads for Winfield Locks on Last Leg of
1 February 2014
By Rick Steelhammer
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After traveling 2,500 miles by train and
truck, six 77,000-pound prefabricated galvanized steel bulkhead
gates are on the final leg of a journey that began in Clackamas,
Ore., and will end at the Winfield Locks and Dam in Putnam County.
Last week, workers at AmherstMadison used a crane to lift the
bulkheads off railcars at their Port Amherst facility near the
mouth of Campbells Creek. The interlocking steel units were then
loaded onto trucks for a quarter-mile trip to AmherstMadison's
loading dock on the Kanawha River. There, another crane lowered
the bulkheads onto a barge, placing them in two stacks of three
It took three days to get the bulkheads off the railcars and onto
a barge, according to Charles Jones, AmherstMadison's president.
"After we got the process organized, we were able to move right
along," Jones said. "This is the second time we've moved
bulkheads, but it's the only time we've moved anything this long.
We've moved heavier stuff, like draglines from here that ended up
The steel gates -- 105 feet long, 12 feet high and 4 feet wide --
arrived at Port Amherst on three railcars, according to Keith
Blount, AmherstMadison's vice president of construction.
"They'll be used at Winfield to hold back the water so people can
work at the base of the dam," he said.
"This new bulkhead system will provide safe and efficient access
for personnel to perform maintenance and repairs, if needed, on
the dam's roller gates," said Jasmine Chopra-Delgadillo, public
affairs specialist for the Huntington District of the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers.
The bulkheads are typically installed just upstream from a dam's
roller gate, to provide dry access for repairs and inspections of
the roller gate, Chopra-Delgadillo said. When stacked atop each
other, the bulkheads provide 27 feet of damming height.
The existing bulkheads at Winfield were installed just before the
Putnam County navigation structure opened to river traffic in
Recent inspections done in accordance with new Corps engineering
regulations indicated that the 78-year-old bulkheads were worn and
in need of replacement for safety reasons.
Dana Hassel of Oregon Iron Works, the company that fabricated the
bulkheads, was on hand to see them loaded onto the barge for the
final stage of their cross-country trip.
While there are steel fabricators in the East capable of handling
the Winfield job, the Oregon firm came out on top in a competitive
bidding process, Hassel said. Oregon Iron Works also is supplying
components for the Willow Island hydro project on the Ohio River
in Pleasants County.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or