Seattle (Vocus) February 27, 2010
The small lock at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks will close its gates to marine traffic and be drained for 12 days starting at 7 a.m. March 8 through 4 p.m. March 19. The closure will allow crews to conduct annual maintenance.
The large lock will continue to operate 24 hours a day/seven days a week. Lock wall staff will get the commercial traffic through as quickly as possible.
All pleasure boats will be using the large lock during this time. Mariners may experience some delay, depending upon how heavy the demand for passage becomes. Boaters should be prepared to use the large lock with appropriate equipment and crew. Requirements in the large lock include long lines and fenders on board the boats.
The small lock is capable of handling vessels up to 25 feet wide and 100 feet long while the large lock can be configured to handle vessels as large as 760 feet by 80 feet.
Most of the equipment at the locks is 93-years-old. The maintenance program gives staff the chance to dry out the chambers for a thorough inspection, make any necessary repairs and paint the walls. This annual routine maintenance ensures the chambers will continue to safely operate.
The Chittenden Locks, which is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, safely transits well over 60,000 vessels each year between Lake Washington and Salmon Bay in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.
Current information about activities at the locks and instructions on "locking through", can be found at: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil, select "Dams and Locks" then "Lake Washington Ship Canal" from the leftmost column.