Seattle, WA (Vocus) October 17, 2009
Both the large and small locks at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard will be closed to all marine traffic from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Oct. 20.
The closure will allow dive teams to perform this year’s final inspection of the salmon exclusion structure immediately upstream of the locks. The dive teams will make maximum efforts to complete the work as soon and as safely as possible.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, which operates the locks, installed this interim structure to prevent salmon from being trapped in the saltwater return system. During previous inspections this year, biologists did not observe any salmon in the return system.
The structure prevents salmon access to the locks’ saltwater return system and improves the viability of the salmon runs, which use the fish ladder to return upstream to their spawning grounds. The design allows for the doors to be manually closed during migration and opened when the salmon are not migrating.
Emergency vessels on an emergency call will have access to the locks during the closure.
Boaters may call the lockmaster on duty at 206-783-7000 to verify that the locks are open.
For current information about activities at the locks, visit the Corps of Engineers Web site at http://www.nws.usace.army.mil and select “Dams and Locks” then “Lake Washington Ship Canal” from the left column.
The Chittenden Locks, often referred to as the Ballard or Government Locks, safely transit about 60,000 vessels each year.