Chattanooga — The Chickamauga Lock has again received construction funding from Congress for the fourth consecutive year, according to United States Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
“This bill provides $6.8 billion – a new record funding level in a regular appropriations bill – for the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain and rebuild our nation’s waterways, including up to $78 million to fully fund construction at Chickamauga Lock for the fourth consecutive year. This is great news for East Tennessee since the new lock will help keep up to 150,000 trucks off I-75 and keep the cost of shipping goods low for manufacturers across the state.” Alexander continued, “More U.S. senators ask to increase funding for the Army Corps of Engineers than any other part of the budget, so I am very glad we were able to provide record funding this year.”
The current lock is 78-years-old and has been closed numerous times over the years because of cracking and other structural problems. The existing lock is also too small and outdated to accommodate modern barges.
Without the lock, traffic on the Tennessee River is stopped in Chattanooga, cutting off 318 miles of river and preventing both recreational traffic and barges loaded with essential goods from reaching places like Knoxville.
The lock has been under construction in various forms since the summer of 2007, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' website.
The lock design was completed in 2009, and the cofferdam construction and fabrication of the miter gates, culvert valves and culvert bulkheads were completed in 2012.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated project completion target is approximately eight years, with full funding.