A number of boats were trapped yesterday when an electrical malfunction kept the large chamber of the Ballard Locks closed for a few hours.
Bill Dowell from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tells My Ballard that part of the electrical system failed at about 12:30pm, trapping 15 vessels for three hours in the large lock.
Coincidentally, the incident fell on the Lock’s 102nd birthday — it opened on July 4, 1917.
“Ya know, the locks are 102 years old,” Dowell told My Northwest. “This is the kind of thing that happens with something that is 102 years old.”
Dowell said new parts are needed for the part that failed, but added that it may be a challenge to find them. “These are not things we keep on the shelf. They just don’t have them anymore.”
While the Army Corps waits for the new part to fix the chamber, the large lock will remain open. But with just four of the six valves working, it could take a few hours to get through the chamber.
There are plans in the works to replace all the valves at the locks — extended closures will start in October.
Photo: Hiram M. Chittenden Locks on Facebook