Stressing the need for full and efficient funding for lock construction, Waterways Council Inc. (WCI) hosted members of the media on a tour of Pittsburgh area projects August 9-11.
The tour began with a ride on a Campbell Transportation Company towboat the my. Darrell L. It included a 12-mile roundtrip from the point where the Lower Monongahela and Allegheny rivers form the head of the Ohio River in downtown Pittsburgh, passing through the auxiliary chamber at Emsworth Locks and Dam (Ohio River Mile 6.2) both downbound and upbound.
Lower Mon Project
Tour participants also toured the construction site at Lock and Dam 4 at Charleroi, part of the Lower Monongahela Project. The project involves work on a fixed-crest dam at Lock and Dam 2 at Braddock, which has already been completed, creation of a new, expanded riverside lock chamber at Charleroi and replacement of Lock and Dam 3 at Elizabeth with a navigable pass. Creat
ing one 30.3-mile pool.
Work on the new lock chamber at Charleroi is approximately 95 percent complete.
The new lock is now 720 feet long and 84 feet wide. Previously it was 360 feet long and 84 feet wide, meaning it took three hours and multiple cuts for a tow to lock through. Once completed, a typical commercial tow should be able to lock through in about 40 minutes.
The district expected to fill the chamber with water for the first time within the next few days and then begin testing. The construction schedule calls for the chamber to become operational in January 2024 and the full contract at Charleroi to be complete in July 2024.
Once complete, the lock will be re-named after the late John P. Murtha, a longtime congressman and decorated Marine Corps veteran from western Pennsylvania.
Crews will soon move on to Elizabeth, where a contract for the dam’s removal in favor of a navigable pass was awarded last month.