Improving the Speed of Double Lockages

by Mary K. Spence, (A.M.ASCE),

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


The size of tug and barge combinations on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway frequently exceed the dimensions of the lock chambers they must pass through. The locks on these waterways were built in the 1930s and 40s but were not designed to handle trarnc of todays size. The tow must break into two segments before passing through the lock and then recouple on the other side of the lock. The process of double locking has had a significant negative impact on the traffic flow on these waterways and delays are increasing. At the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sverdrup studied the potential time savings that could be gained by extending guidewalls and adding powered tow haulage systems to these locks. Sverdrup studied a variety of powered tow haulage systems, collected timing data, identified site-specific constraints and developed a solution based on the particular needs of these waterways. This paper identifies the potential configurations, the time savings, and the recommended solution for expanding the capacity of locks on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway.

Subject Headings: Waterways | Traffic flow | Locks (waterway) | Rivers and streams | Water flow | Traffic delay | Barges | Mississippi River | Illinois | United States

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