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High Water Impacts Work at Columbia Lock, Dam

Published March 15, 2019

Elevated water levels on the Ouachita River are affecting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District’s emergency repair work at Columbia Lock and Dam, located approximately seven miles upstream of Columbia, Louisiana.

Vicksburg District engineers are working with Massman Construction Co. to identify alternative construction methods to avoid the suspension of all repair work at the site. Although river stages have been at or slightly above the top of the lock walls, Massman Construction Co. has successfully modified its working platforms to allow some repair work to continue despite the higher than normal river stages on the Ouachita River.

The current pool at Columbia Lock and Dam is 12 feet higher than normal pool stage.

Emergency repair work at Columbia Lock and Dam began in July 2018 after Vicksburg District engineers identified seepage and sand boils near the structure, as well as voids under the lock wall. In November 2018, additional damage was discovered at the upper end of the lock.

The district is scheduled to complete the emergency repair work at Columbia Lock and Dam by the end of April 2019. District engineers will continue monitoring the situation at the site with the goal of advancing all remaining repair work when conditions permit. The district will provide an update if continued rainfall in the region has implications on the completion schedule.

The lock and dam remains closed to traffic. Mariners are encouraged to contact the Columbia Lock and Dam lockmaster to determine the current status of the navigation pass as it’s subject to change based on observed elevations on the Ouachita River. The navigation pass at Columbia Lock and Dam is currently open to traffic.

Citizens should continue to avoid all activities around the lock, dam and other associated structures for safety reasons.

The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,000 personnel.

Jessica Dulaney

Release no. UNRELEASED