From Monday, June 2, to the end of August 2014, removal and replacement of the six tainter-spillway gates at Chittenden Locks in Ballard (the Ballard Locks) will require intermittent temporary closures of the pedestrian walkway along the spillway dam between the north and south sections of the Chittenden Locks.
Navigation through the Chittenden Locks is not affected and will continue as usual.
To keep inconvenience to a minimum, the Corps of Engineers is scheduling replacement work so the walkway will close less than one hour each day, about two days per week.
Closure times will be posted on both sides of the bridge walkway at least two days ahead. They will be shown on the Locks website (bit.ly/BallardLocks) or are available by calling the Chittenden Locks Visitor Center at (206) 783-7059.
The tainter-spillway gates maintain the water elevation for Lake Washington. The gates were originally placed in service at the Locks in 1916. In 1944, the gates were refurbished due to corrosion. The last maintenance was done in 1988, when the gates were painted.
Because of the age of the materials, corrosion due to the environment in which they operate, and an obsolete design that leaves them weaker and less resilient than modern gates, the Corps is replacing them with new gates.
The new spillway gates have an updated design. The gates will operate more efficiently, be easier to maintain and last a very long time. They are being replaced under a single contract and fabricated offsite.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the Chittenden Locks, the busiest locks in the nation, with 50,000 vessels locking through each year.