Traffic resumes on Columbia-Snake River system

The lock at Lower Monumental Dam opened Friday, finishing work on the regional navigation system.

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Below watch video of the first vessel to use the new lock gate at Lower Monumental Lock andDam

The Columbia-Snake River navigation system is back in business.

Traffic on the river system, which runs from Portland to Lewiston, Idaho, resumed at 11 p.m. Friday with the reopening of the navigation lock at Lower Monumental Dam on the lower Snake River near Kahlotus, Wash.

The Lower Monumental lock, along with the locks at The Dalles and John Day dams on the Columbia River were closed Dec. 10 to allow replacement of the decades-old downstream lock gates. Locks at five other dams in the river system were also closed to allow for maintenance work. All eight dams are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The reopening of Lower Monumental marked the end of the longest lock outage ever experienced on the navigation system. The towboat "Rebel," pushing two barges, one loaded with shipping containers, the other with wood chips, was the first vessel to lock through the dam's new gate Saturday about 3 p.m.

"The downstream gate replacement has been a successful project for the navigation industry, taxpayers and the Corps," said Walla Walla District Commander Lt. Col. David A. Caldwell. "This was a complex project and it went very well, thanks to the efforts, coordination and communication of our great staff, partners, and stakeholders."

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