Lock Service On Allegheny River To Be Reduced

By: Jim Lokay

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Army Corps of Engineers has announced it is decreasing lock service on the Allegheny River. Officials say the reduction is the result of federal budget cuts.

Allegheny River’s Lock No. 2 has clearly seen better days.

“The working surface for the people is bald, and it’s really quite a challenge for these folks. If you walk up to the edge… you can see that steel portion that’s painted bright yellow, but if you look here you can see that in many places the concrete behind it is completely missing, and that’s just a matter of time,” said Rich Lockwood, of the Army Corps of Engineers.

No one disputes that the locks and dams along the river are the key to moving people and freight through the area, but shrinking federal dollars has put the Army Corps of Engineers in a bind.

“If something goes wrong on these locks and dams, which are 70- to 80-years-old, there’s no guarantee there will be maintenance funds to keep them running,” Mary Ann Bucci, of the Port of Pittsburgh, said.

With operating funds cut in half nationwide, it means significant cuts in the number of hours locks up and down the river will be open.

Locks 2 through 5 will cut hours from round-the-clock service to two eight hour shifts during the week from 8:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Locks 6 and 7 will operate a single shift in the summer during weekends and holidays, with other hours scheduled by appointment.

Locks 8 and 9, both north of Kittanning, will close to recreational boaters.

With 5 of those facilities in her area and millions in river commerce at stake, Armstrong County Commissioner Patty Kirkpatrick says the federal government is falling behind.

“They placed the infrastructure here, they are the ones that determined that these locks needed to be in place,” she said. “They also need to be the ones that have to look to help to sustain it, especially on the maintenance side because it’s going to take a large price tag. They have not put the dollars into maintenance over the years.”

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  • Rich

    Your federal government at work!

    This is why the Constitution and prudence dictates that states and municipalites take back the functions that they’ve ceded to the federal bureucracy in exchange for running up massive debts for public schools and social spending programs designed to win votes.

    Well, the bills are now coming due and just maybe people will finally learn that they’ve been electing arrested development adolscents to public office for the better part of the last 50 years and that these posers have stolen them blind.

    • chris

      We build infrastructure in foreign countries while american corporations defraud the govt many times over with cost overruns, misplaced funding and straight up graft to ensure stock price escalation. The govt cannot be to blamed if you don’t include their corporate thieves who are financed by the taxpayer. Bottom line, larger profit margins working outside the states.

    • Ming 117


      I think we need to focus exactly why these cuts are being made. First not enough citizens complained when tax cuts were given to millionaires. No one complains when GE and other corporations bamboozle out of paying their fair share of taxes. GE paid nothing on billions! Even though the tax rate is 35%, with shelters, tax breaks, etc corporations actually pay around 6% – 7%. We subsidize big oil and agrabusiness. Why are we subsidizing oil companies who make billions every quarter. This is sheer madness. Yet we then cut education, transportation and needed infrastructure repairs, .

      • expittsburgh

        Ming, millionaires are not the boogey man. You need to get over it. Remember, they are the ones who employ people and pay the majority of the taxes.

  • north

    Locks 2 through 5 will cut hours from round-the-clock service to two eight hour shifts during the week from 8:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. or did they mean from 8:15 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.?

    As usual, thank you for the sloppy reporting.

  • Terry Boots

    When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s my folks had a camp on the pool formed by Lock & Dam #7. I can remember long lines of pleasure craft waiting to use Lock #8 on sunny weekends, but in the last few decades, almost no craft use the locks at all. Indeed, Lock #8 has been primarily kept open for the benefit of gravel dredgers.

    The locks and dams in the upper Allegheny serve no real purpose. Perhaps it is time to remove the dams and let the Allegheny return to its natural state.

  • Kerry Evans

    Do we not have a right to navigable waters as per the Juaniata Trout Club court case? US ACE cannot block the river,period.

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