Chickamauga Lock gets boost from economic stimulus plan
Federal funding for the replacement of Chickamauga Lock will more than double this year, thanks to the federal stimulus program approved in February.
Chickamauga Lock, located near Chattanooga, Tennessee, will get an extra $57.5 million under a plan developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to spend the $4.6 billion appropriated to its civil works projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The existing lock, completed in 1940, has a limited life due to concrete growth, a reaction between ingredients in the concrete that causes the structure to swell and crack. Monitoring, engineering analysis, and aggressive maintenance are being performed to maintain the existing lock until construction of the new lock is complete.
The stimulus money will help pay for completion of a cofferdam, a temporary barrier that creates a dry work zone in an area normally under water, and fund work on structural steel gates, valves, and bridges.
The money is in addition to $42 million already allocated to the project this year.
The new lock is important to the East Tennessee economy, says TVA Navigation Program Manager Kelie Hammond. “Chickamauga Lock serves as a gateway for the transportation of many different raw materials and finished products shipped from and to the eastern part of the Tennessee Valley. It links the region with terminals and industries on the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, and Arkansas Rivers, the Gulf Coast, and the Great Lakes, so it’s important to those areas, as well.”
Thousands of recreational boaters also use Chickamauga Lock each year.
The new lock will be considerably larger — 110 feet by 600 feet — which will cut the average lockage time for a 15-barge commercial tow from 16 hours to about 2 ½ hours.
TVA owns the lock, but it is operated by the Corps of Engineers. The Corps has responsibility for funding, design, and completion of the new lock. The project completion date will depend on Congressional funding.