Demolition of Lock and Dam 52 in Brookport, Illinois, began Aug. 8, 2019, marking yet another historic milestone for navigation on the lower Ohio River.
The original structure of Lock and Dam 52 was constructed in 1928, and the 1,200 ft. temporary lock chamber was completed in 1969. It was in service for nearly 90 years, ensuring safe navigation on the Ohio River, until the fall of 2018 when the Olmsted Locks and Dam became operational eliminating the need for the infrastructure.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the contract for the demolition work to C.J. Mahan Construction Company out of Columbus, Ohio.
The demolition is being completed using blasting methods to fracture portions of the concrete structure to break it up for easier removal with heavy machinery. The crew first began by blasting the fixed weir on the Kentucky side of the river. Simultaneously, portions of the lock, such as the miter gates, are being disassembled and removed from the water.
“The blasting operation has been going very smoothly with great cooperation from the navigation industry,” said Bill Gilmour, project manager. “The entire fixed weir, pier 1 and the 1,200 foot chamber lower approach wall have been completely blasted. All downstream miter gates have been removed and disposed of along with numerous temporary wicket boxes.”
Demolition of the marine features, which includes removal of all lock and dam components, is expected to last through December 2020.