NORFOLK, Va. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will replace three of eight chamber valves at Great Bridge Lock along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in Chesapeake starting today.
The $950,000 project, a joint effort by Norfolk District and neighboring Huntington District in West Virginia, covers setup of a cofferdam, all valve-hardware replacement, labor and the installation of new butterfly valves, each measuring 8 feet by 10 feet and weighing nearly 10,000 pounds. The first of two phases is expected to wrap up around March 16.
Cofferdam installation on Great Bridge Lock wall’s northeast end is set for today and Thursday. The lock will be closed 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days.
“The chamber valves allow us to control the water entering and exiting the lock so we can change the water levels and allow vessels on the AIWW to continue their travels,” said Joel Scussel, Norfolk District’s Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway project manager. “If we don't have the valves, we don’t have a lock.”
Beginning Monday until job completion in mid-March, a crew will spend seven days a week on the first valve-gate replacement, he said. Occasional navigation delays are possible in order to provide crane support in the lock.
Corps officials said cofferdam removal and relocation will take place the week of March 19 as the two additional valves get replaced during Phase 2. The exact time and closure details will be announced next month.
The lock’s horizontal clearance will be limited to 70 feet during repairs. Scussel said vessels should provide a large berth to the work area, which is marked with a yellow safety beam on the lock wall.
The valves have proven highly durable at Great Bridge Lock. Seven of the eight remain from the original installation in 1932. One was replaced three years ago after a failure in 2013.
Huntington District will perform most of the upcoming work in the valve chamber, Scussel said. The operating contractor is U.S. Facilities Inc., a minority-owned facilities management and infrastructure-support company out of Philadelphia, which will also provide dive services and assist with cofferdam installation and maintenance.
Questions or concerns about this project can be referred to the USACE Norfolk District Public Affairs Office at 757-201-7606.