USACE team successfully completes miter gate repairs at Markland Locks and Dam

USACE - Louisville District
Published Dec. 6, 2021
Updated: Dec. 6, 2021

For approximately two years, Markland Locks and Dam’s auxiliary chamber, in Warsaw, Kentucky, has been closed for repair. However, as of Dec. 4. 2021, the 600-foot chamber has reopened to navigation traffic.
The chamber was originally closed due to an issue with the upper miter gate, and during that time all traffic continued to pass through the primary chamber. The Regional Heavy Capacity Repair Fleet has been on site at the project since August working to repair the miter gates. 
“We have major maintenance going on here,” said Zach Dunagan, Louisville District Operations Division project engineer. “We are replacing some mechanical and structural components.”
The overall goal of the project was to rehab the miter gates in the auxiliary chamber back to full operating condition, according to Markland Locks and Dam Lockmaster Shawn Riley. 
“In the auxiliary chamber, the cracked upper middle wall gate leaf pintle area needed to be welded, the upper concrete miter gate needed to be reformed, and the pintle stiffener plates needed to be replaced if cracked,” Riley said. “In addition to specific emergency repairs, the auxiliary chamber upper gates received new anchor arms, contact blocks, pintle ball and bushings, J-seal and polymer steel on wall quoins.”
The issues were first discovered during annual diving inspections in August 2019. Once the project was approved, preparation and field work began this past summer.
As with any maintenance and repair projects, there can be challenges and unforeseen circumstances that arise. 
On Oct. 21, navigation traffic was halted at Markland to facilitate a hydraulic cylinder repair on the primary 1,200-foot lock chamber. The closure lasted less than 48 hours, however, during that time both chambers were out of service.
“That was the first time I can remember both chambers being shut down for reasons other than flooding,” said Allen Craigmyle, Markland Locks and Dam Work Leader. 
Since the Heavy Capacity Fleet was already on site for the auxiliary chamber maintenance project, they were able to help with the main chamber issue to expedite repairs.
Following the auxiliary chamber repairs, the primary chamber closed again Dec. 4 for four days, to allow the Heavy Capacity Repair Fleet to complete hydraulic system repairs that caused the previous lock closure.
Upon completion of the hydraulic system repairs and reopening of the primary chamber, the auxiliary chamber will be closed again to facilitate demobilization of the Heavy Capacity Fleet. This closure is anticipated to extend through Dec. 16, with the intent of both chambers being fully operational by Dec. 17.
Riley is very proud of the teamwork that took place to successfully complete these repairs. “When we work together as a team there is nothing we can’t accomplish.”