The Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District recently finished a $6.6 million renovation of Allegheny River Lock and Dam No. 2 near the Highland Park Bridge. The agency upgraded the concrete land wall inside the chamber, which required 400 cubic yards of concrete.
Vincent DeCarlo, deputy chief of operations for the Pittsburgh District, said pieces of concrete had been breaking off and falling into the chamber, which posed a hazard for commercial and recreational boats.
“The [wall] had really deteriorating concrete,” DeCarlo said. The project took 27,000 hours of construction work, he added, and took a little over four months. The timeline was important because water is typically at its lowest during late summer/early fall.
Lock and Dam No. 2 averages about $160 million in commercial economic benefits each year. The industry was able to modify routes so business wasn’t significantly impacted. The system also sees about 2,000 recreational boaters annually.
Next, the Corps of Engineers wants to conduct similar improvements to the C.W. Bill Young Lock and Dam, which is near New Kensington on the Allegheny River. On the Ohio, the agency will be changing the lock de-watering system to a “newer and safer system” at Montgomery Locks and Dam in Beaver County; it will also upgrade miter gates at New Cumberland Locks and Dam in Ohio.
DeCarlo said the Corps of Engineers would like to work on the miter gates at Braddock’s Locks and Dam on the Monongahela River, but the project is dependent on whether it receives funding. Maintenance project priorities are based on commercial traffic use and the significance of deterioration.
“[We] must compete with higher-use facilities across the division for maintenance needs,” DeCarlo said.
The majority of infrastructure on Pittsburgh’s rivers is at least 70 years old.