Morgantown Lock Dewatering Reveals Severe Damage
The Waterways Journal
15 December 2014
By Jeff Hawk, Pittsburgh Engineer District
What lies beneath the water in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Pittsburgh District's aging navigation locks is sometimes
difficult to fathom.
The $2.8-million maintenance dewatering of Morgantown Lock and Dam
on the Monongahela River, October 17–November 19, revealed
unexpected deterioration that lengthened the repair schedule and
complicated the work needed to fix critical components. But
skilled technicians and craftsmen from the Pittsburgh Repair Fleet
and Pittsburgh Engineers Warehouse and Repair Station were up to
Once they dewatered the chamber, crews found that the upper and
lower sills providing a seal for the lock miter gates were in much
worse condition than originally estimated. Severely cracked
concrete and dislodged timbers required crews to completely
replace the lower miter sill, stretching the work schedule an
additional 12 days and adding $600,000 to the price tag.
Fixing the sills required installing an upstream needle dam and
downstream poiree dam so that the existing miter gates could be
removed and crews could work in the dry. Jack-hammering, concrete
placements, custom fabrication to replace 50-year-old parts, and
hard work ensued. Crews fixed the sills as well as gate
anchorages, dam gate hoist gear boxes, and feeder electrical
cables. New dam safety signs warning mariners of the approaching
lock and dam were also installed.
When the repair party departed on November 19, its month-plus stay
yielded a more tightly sealed chamber and a more reliable facility
necessary to keep navigation moving on the upper Mon.
Members of the Upper Monongahela River Association and local
government officials toured the site on two separate occasions
during the dewatering to emphasize the importance of the facility
to the community and the local economy.