By Joe Veyera
The removal and replacement of six tainter spillway gates at the Ballard Locks will require sporadic, temporary closures of pedestrian walkway along the spillway dam between the north and south sections of the locks over the next three months.
Beginning June 2, and running through the end of August, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will work on the gates, which maintain the water elevation for Lake Washington. To keep the inconvenience to pedestrians at a minimum, the work is being scheduled to keep the walkway closed for less than an hour each day, two days a week.
The gates were originally installed at the Locks in 1916, and were refurbished due to corrosion in 1944. The last maintenance on the gates was conducted in 1988, when they were painted. The Corps of Engineers is now replacing the gates because of the age of the materials, the corrosion that comes with the environment in which they operate, and their design, which leaves them weaker and less resilient than modern gates.
The new gates will have an updated design, and will operate more efficiently and be easier to maintain. The gates will be fabricated offsite.
Closure times will be posted on both sides of bridge walkway at least two days in advance, shown on the Locks website, Facebook, and Twitter pages, and will also be made available to those who call the Chittenden Locks Visitor Center at 206-783-7059.