U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today attended a briefing by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the progress of the new Chickamauga lock and hailed the continuing improvements in safety, shipping infrastructure and efficiency there.
“This $310 million dollar project for a new Chickamauga lock means safer conditions, better infrastructure and more jobs,” Alexander said. “The more I learn about the good work going on here, the more eager I am for the new lock to open and revitalize shipping on the Tennessee River. By 2010, it will be able to process significantly more shipping traffic, and that means potentially more than 100,000 trucks off I-75 each year.”
Alexander and Army Corps officials explained that the concrete of the current lock is expanding due to a condition known as aggregate concrete growth, leading to stability concerns throughout the structure. The concrete growth will continue to affect lock operations and eventually result in the closure of the old lock.
Once the new lock is open, it is anticipated that 4.3 million more tons of cargo could pass through the lock shipping products to Tennessee Valley residents.
Senator Alexander worked with former Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) and Congressman Zach Wamp (R-TN-03) to get funds for the project included in the President’s budget beginning in Fiscal Year 2006, a critical step towards making sure the lock received the necessary funding to complete the project.
Since then, Alexander has worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep an aggressive maintenance schedule for the aging lock and prevent a shutdown of the old lock while the new lock is constructed.
The new Chickamauga Lock is scheduled to open in 2010.