Ballard Locks electrical closure delayed last night; 2 week-long pile installation begins Monday

A scheduled electrical upgrade at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard was set back due to the extensive power outage in Ballard, caused by an underground cable failure during a construction dig on Market Street.

The scheduled closure– set from 12:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.– was delayed by approximately one hour, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official Bill Dowell. “We scrambled to get our backup generators running within the hour,” says Dowell.

Corps officials selected the early-morning, low-usage time to complete the upgrades that will  improve reliability for the nearly 100-year-old facility.

Meanwhile, on Monday August 17th, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractor will also begin replacing piles at the nearly 100-year-old Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.

Pacific Pile & Marine will install four steel piles on the Small Lock waiting pier’s west end, west of the BNSF Bascule Bridge. Work should be complete by August 28. The contractor will work 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday during the two week time frame.

To limit noise, Corps officials specifically requested vibratory pile hammer use to minimize construction impact for local residents. Vibratory pile hammers contain a system of counter-rotating eccentric weights, powered by hydraulic motors, and are designed to limit or cancel horizontal vibrations while transmitting vertical vibrations into the pile.

According to Pacific Pile & Marine officials, noise from the hammer they’ll be using is less than 85 decibels at 50 feet away (equivalent to sitting in a car while in city traffic). Pile installation will be done in half hour, intermittent durations.

A 60 by 140 foot construction barge will be moored onsite and marked in accordance with navigation rules. Officials request vessels use caution and reduce wake while transiting the area.

For more information about activities at the Locks, visit the Locks’ Web site at Also follow the Locks on Facebook and Twitter: and

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