Ice Harbor Dam lock returns to service

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

March 27–BURBANK — Despite some unusual noises, the navigation lock at Ice Harbor Dam is back in service after an extended closure.

In a release, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials said the lock was reopened just before midnight Thursday. However “popping” noises and reverberations were reported, prompting investigation.

By analyzing data gathered using advanced instrumentation, engineers were able to determine that there was no cause for concern of machinery failure. The gate was cleared to return to full, unrestricted operation and a long-term monitoring plan is being developed from which future recommendations can be made.

Corps officials said vessel operators and occupants may be able to hear the “popping” noise while the lock gates are in operation, however this “nuisance noise” is not a cause for safety concerns.

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The locks at Ice Harbor and seven other dams on the Columbia and Lower Snake rivers were taken out of service in early December for annual repairs, maintenance and improvements. Locks at Bonneville, McNary, John Day, The Dalles, Lower Monumental and Lower Granite dams were returned to service March 20, but the locks at Ice Harbor and Little Goose Dam remained closed due to on-site work complications.

The lock at Little Goose Dam, located near Starbuck, is scheduled to return to service just before midnight April 2, Corps officials said.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Waterways Council, Inc.