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September 10, 2019

Broken barge lock means commerce chokehold

  • The eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers are critical parts of a watery highway used to transport millions of tons of agricultural and other products to and from the Pacific Rim.
  • By GILLIAN FLACCUS
    Associated Press

    PORTLAND — A critical navigation lock at the mighty Bonneville Dam on the Pacific Northwest's Columbia River has shut down for repairs because of cracked concrete, meaning huge barges that transport millions of tons of wheat, wood and other goods from the inland Pacific Northwest to the Pacific Ocean for export to Asia are at a standstill.

    The crack in the concrete sill was discovered late last week and the lock was drained of all water over the weekend. On Monday, crews were working to demolish the faulty concrete section so repairs could begin, said Chris Gaylord, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Portland, Oregon. It was unclear when the repairs would be done.


     
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