PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A 160-foot long AEP Legacy towboat has docked along the North Shore and is an added bonus for Regatta visitors.

The towboat is here for the public to see, but it is also here to deliver a warning about river safety.

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The towboat docked around 6 a.m. As part of the Regatta, Captain Terry Reavis provided tours Tuesday to educate people about what they do and to bring awareness to major infrastructure issues on the Lower Mon.

“We’ve got locks on the Mon that could fail at just about any time,” Marty Hettle said.

“If we don’t do the scheduled maintenance, then the infrastructure is just [going to] keep deteriorating and deteriorating,” Reavis said.

In 2003, officials announced they’re spending $40 million to reconstruct Lock Four in Charleroi and will eventually remove the 107-year-old dam in Elizabeth.

A lack of funding has slowed those projects on the Lower Mon and it’s threatening the shipments that travel up and down our rivers.

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In fact, the Port of Pittsburgh estimates it won’t be complete until anywhere from 2024 to 2033 and the estimated cost is now in the billions.

If any of the antiquated locks and dams fail, we’re in trouble.

If you don’t think this will affect you, that’s far from the truth according to Mary Ann Bucci with the Port of Pittsburgh.

“You’re talking about the cost of the commodities rising for the consumer. A lot of coal moves on the river, so you’re looking at your utility being higher. So it does affect each and every one of us,” Bucci said.


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