Locks and Dam 52 Closed Again, Halting River Traffic

Dec 7, 2017

Wickets in Locks and Dam 52.
Credit Todd Hornback

  One of the busiest shipping channels on the Ohio River has halted traffic through the weekend due to aging locks and dam in west Kentucky.

This is at least the sixth time this year the outdated infrastructure has shutdown... creating headaches for the shipping industry.


Locks and Dam 52 near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers carries 90 million tons of cargo each year.


The stretch of river closed due to low water levels causing two vessels to run aground.


Todd Hornback of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the site is nearly 90 years old. He said the closure is holding up 34 ships.    


“So it is barge after barge of vessels that line up against the shoreline just waiting for the locks to reopen and let them through.” Hornback said.


Hornback said engineers are working to raise the site’s water levels- and navigation will resume once that is complete.


A nearby site 30 years in the making is slated for completion in October next year and is expected to alleviate ongoing traffic issues.