Crews from Oregon Iron Works in Vancouver have finished work on a 30-foot-by-98-foot curved panel that will become part of a new navigation gate near the John Day Dam.
The 250-ton gate section, one of four pieces that will fit together in the final downstream gate, is just one component in a $50 million effort to replace aging equipment along the Columbia and Snake rivers. The project will result in a 14-week halt to barge traffic upstream of The Dalles, Ore.
Vancouver-based Tidewater Barge, unable to navigate as it normally would, announced several weeks ago that it would temporarily lay off 200 workers due to the project.
But Tidewater officials have called the project necessary, because it will replace aging lock gates that are nearing the end of their life spans.
The component built by Oregon Iron Works, a subcontractor to Portland-based Advanced American Construction, was loaded last week onto a barge at the east slip of Vancouver’s Columbia Business Center. The barge is scheduled to leave for Bingen later this week, where it will wait until contractors are ready to receive the gate component, said Scott Clemans, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In addition to the John Day lock gate built by Oregon Iron Works, Vancouver-based Thompson Metal Fab Inc. has built a 750-ton gate system that will be welded into a large gate at the Lower Monumental Dam.