Army Corps of Engineers to Close Both Ballard Locks Today

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Both the large and small locks at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard will be closed to all marine traffic from 10 a.m. to noon today.

Our team immediately went into action when they realized the ROV was blocking the saltwater drain system

Both the large and small locks at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard will be closed to all marine traffic from 10 a.m. to noon today.

The closure allows dive teams to retrieve a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), which is blocking the locks’ saltwater drain system.

During an inspection of the adult salmon exclusion structure Sept. 24, crews noticed that the cord on the ROV wrapped around part of the structure. This caused one of the structure doors to open, trapping the ROV in front of the intake of the locks’ saltwater drain system, which provides flows to the fish ladder.

Until dive teams recover the ROV, the saltwater drain system is closed. This closure prevents fish from using the fish ladder for passage due to the lack of saltwater flows. The dive teams will make maximum efforts to complete the work as soon and as safely as possible.

“Our team immediately went into action when they realized the ROV was blocking the saltwater drain system,” said Marian Valentine, operations project manager for Lake Washington Ship Canal. “We plan to finish the repairs today and open the saltwater drain system, which will allow fish to pass through the fish ladder.”

Emergency vessels on an emergency call will have access to the small lock during the closure.

Boaters may call the lockmaster on duty at 206-783-7000 to verify that the locks are open.

The adult salmon exclusion 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. In 2008, the Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the locks, installed this interim structure to prevent salmon from being trapped in the saltwater return system.

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.

Contact: Andrea Takash, 206-764-3464

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Andrea Takash

Public Affairs
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
206-764-3750
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