Unused Olmsted Locks To Be Rehabbed
The Waterways Journal
January 20, 2014
By John Shoulberg
The twin 1,200-foot locks at the Olmsted Locks and Dam project on
the lower Ohio River have stood unused since they were completed
in 2004. The other part of the project — the dam — has seen delays
and cost overruns that have been documented in these pages many
times over the years. It will be years before the dam is finished
and the locks are put into service.
But now, after a decade in the water, the unused locks need to be
According to a presolicitation notice put out by the Corps of
Engineers earlier this month, the Corps will solicit bids in
February, for a contract to perform a major rehab at the locks.
The estimated cost of the rehab is between $5 million and $10
Among the work items to be performed:
• dewatering the lock chambers;
• cleaning of miter gates and culvert valves for
• extension of two maintenance bulkhead
reinforced concrete sills on the floors of the chambers;
• replacement of air bubbler and grease lines
located in the chambers, along with solenoid valves on the bubbler
• repair of culvert valve latching bars:
• addition of a culvert valve support beam. and
• new stairs and platforms for access to lock
The contract will also include modifying the miter gate latching
devices. with new latching cylinders, changes to hydraulic piping.
control wiring and latch pin components.
The proposed contract also calls for replacing the control system
for the locks, including terminal control screens, interlocks, PLC
equipment, computers and ethernet hubs.
The Corps said that the work will be performed on one chamber at a
time, keeping one lock chamber operational at all times. The
intent is to complete work on one chamber during low-water season
(approximately June through November) in 2015, and the other lock
in the low-water season in 2016.
Preparatory work, including design of the new lock control system
and fabrication of hydraulic cylinders, will be done in 2014.
Neither chamber can be dewatered this year, the Corps said.
The current timetable for the overall construction project calls
for the dam to be completed — and the locks come into full use —
in 2020. Other phases of the project, including removal of Locks
52 and 53, will continue until 2024.
When originally authorized in the Water Resources Development Act
of 1988. the overall cost of the project was estimated at $775
million, and it was supposed to be finished in 2006. After years
of delays and construction changes, the overall cost is now
estimated at $3 billion.