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Economic and dam related articles

Scores Turn Out to See Progress at Dam

by Andy Porter
Union-Bulletin, January 27, 2011

A tour of work at Lower Monumental Dam drew about 140 people to the remote site Wednesday afternoon.

(Andy Porter) Tour participants look over the edge of Lower Monumental Dam's cavernous navigation lock during a tour Wednesday. It was a rare opportunity to see the structure almost completely empty of water. KAHLOTUS, Wash. -- A big job drew a big crowd of sightseers Wednesday.

Despite the remote location, about 140 people made their way to Lower Monumental Dam in northern Walla Walla County to see progress on major repairs to the massive structure.

Organized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the dam, visitors were allowed to walk along the top of the dam's navigation lock and peer down into its depths where workers are replacing the downstream gate, repairing a section of the interior wall and doing other maintenance work.

"My husband and I just though we would come out and see what this looks like," said Michele Criss, who with her husband Steve had driven from Walla Walla for the tour. "It's pretty fun and it's a nice day."

As that work proceeds, workers are aligning and welding the parts of the new lock gate. The last section of the 700-ton structure was installed Tuesday, lifted into place by the towering Lampson Transi-Lift LTL crane which was erected next to the lock late last year.

Work on the project is scheduled to be completed by midnight March 12, said Andrew Rajala, project engineer. That is the deadline for ending an unprecedented shutdown of the entire Columbia and Snake river transportation system to allow major repairs to Lower Monumental and two other dams, as well as other repairs and maintenance work.

Related Pages:
Senator Patty Murray Announces Additional $14M for Lower Monumental Lock & Dam Repairs BYM Marine & Maritime News, August 21, 2009

Audio Files (to come):
Monolith Repair Lower Monumental Lock, recording by bluefish 1/26/11, Steve Thompson project engineer ACOE
Downstream Gate Repair Lower Monumental Lock, recording by bluefish 1/26/11

Fatigue Cracks of Steel gate: It was designed to handle a constant load but it was subjected to loads that changed everyday, several times a day. In fact, on average we had 1500 lockages per year here at Lower Monumental.
Major Janette Wilson, Jack Huckling, James Gail audio yet to come

Andy Porter
Scores Turn Out to See Progress at Dam
Union-Bulletin, January 27, 2011

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