Locks and Dam 52 on the Ohio River in western Kentucky is open to traffic after a week of being closed. The Corps of Engineers reports water is rising and expects the river to return to normal summer levels by the weekend.
The wickets at Dam 52, function like a bathtub to keep water in and establish a navigable level of water. During times of low water, wickets have to be raised individually.
Last week the corps was unable to raise about five wickets near Paducah, creating a hole and further lowering the water to an impassable level. Communications Director Carol Labashosky said they’re continuing work on Dam 52 but a more permanent fix is in progress.
“The long-term fix is actually The Olmsted Locks and Dam which is to be completed in 2018, which replaces locks and dam 52 and 53,” Labashosky said.
Labashosky said about 40 wickets are supposed to be replaced annually. She said the Corps is replacing the wooden structures with steel. Since the project reauthorization and funding, the Olmsted Locks and Dam project is ahead of schedule and under budget.