Transformer blows at Ballard Locks, large chamber at half-capacity

If you’re going through the Ballard Locks this week, you should expect some delays: not only is the small lock closed for unscheduled repairs, the large lock is now working at half-capacity after a transformer blew last week.

Bill Dowell from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tells My Ballard they’ll work on replacing the transformers this week, but doesn’t know how long it will take.

“They need to be replaced, but they’re 100 years old so you can’t buy them off the shelf,” Dowell said.

In the meantime, maintenance crews are working to restore power and lock wall crews are working to get vessels through as efficiently as possible. Most vessels will still be able to lock through, but vessels longer than 375 feet should contact the tower before approaching the locks.

As a reminder, while most vessels will be permitted to travel through the large lock during the small lock closure, un-motorized vessels, such as kayaks, canoes, and rowboats are not permitted in the large chamber.

Other vessels will be permitted, but should be prepared with appropriate equipment, including 50-foot-long lines and fenders on board.

The small lock should reopen by Sept. 13.

Photo: Ballard Locks on Facebook

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