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Posted 4/21/2009

Release no. 09-004

The Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District has completed the McAlpine Lock Replacement Project and has opened its newest 1,200-foot lock chamber to the navigation industry at Louisville, Ky. The completion of the new 1,200 foot chamber gives the McAlpine project twin 1,200 foot locks for efficient movement of projected increases in tow traffic.

In the Ohio River Basin where commerce moves quietly on the river through a stealth transportation system, the Army Corps of Engineers and industry have reached a critical milestone with the completion of the new 1,200-foot lock chamber. At this time only McAlpine and Smithland Locks, on the lower Ohio, have twin 1,200-foot lock chambers.

More than 10 years in the making, this project increases the capacity and efficiency of the lock and ensures continued and uninterrupted transportation of coal, aggregates and metals at a significant cost savings to taxpayers.

A 15-barge tow carries the equivalent of 1,050 semi trucks. This keeps traffic off interstate highways and the public safer. Statistics show that already more than 25 percent of Ohio River locks are beyond their design life; within nine years, 50 percent will be. Lock rehabilitations and the resulting cost savings of barge transport vs. overland shipping and on-time delivery of goods keep Americans employed and local economies vitalized. Approximately 54 million tons of goods estimated at $11.6 billion pass through the McAlpine locks annually.

The visitor area is closed to the public during April and is tentatively scheduled to open during May.