The Little Goose Dam navigation lock near Starbuck, Wash., on the Snake River reopened this week ahead of schedule, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The lock remained closed after annual maintenance in March, when cracks in the steel of a gudgeon arm assembly on top of the downstream south gate leaf was determined to be unsafe for continued operation.
Corps officials initially estimated the lock would not return to service until May 1.
“We were fortunate that the developing cracks had already been identified last spring and fabrication of replacement parts had been ordered in September,” Corps project manager Steve Hartman said in a press release. “If not for that critical maintenance decision, it could have taken anywhere from three to four months just to have the new pieces forged, machined and delivered under an emergency contract.”
If the lock had been closed for five months, it would have interfered with almost 1.5 million tons of commercial shipping between Lewiston, Idaho, and Portland, according to the district.
— Matthew Weaver