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Posted: 12/28/2012 7:02:34 PM EDT
I've moved fairly close to a river/lake and I was wondering what happens to Locks with no one manning them. Are they just jammed in either the up or down level? No way around them for a small craft?
Link Posted: 12/28/2012 7:15:31 PM EDT
Think about that all the time. Live in Pittsburgh camp/bug out is outside wheeling then upstream. Could take river / creek directly to it but with no locks might be easier to try back roads.
Link Posted: 12/28/2012 7:55:13 PM EDT
I imagine they wouldn't be too hard to work, if you had a hydraulic pump and all week to open them (like, a logsplitter)
Link Posted: 12/28/2012 9:22:10 PM EDT
You can always portage around them. But it depends on how big/heavy your boat is.
Link Posted: 12/28/2012 9:29:57 PM EDT
Well after SHTF ATF rules no longer apply so take off and nuke it from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.
Link Posted: 12/29/2012 2:12:10 AM EDT
Not original but pretty stupid.

Link Posted: 12/29/2012 9:16:34 AM EDT
In the NY canal system the locks are freaking ancient. They're not run by pumps at all, merely valves for raising and lowering the water level. It's all gravity powered. The doors upen upstream and use the water's force to hold them shut.

To go downstream, the valves are closed on the lower end and opened on the upper end, the lock fills to the level of the upstream side. You open the doors to the upstream side and enter the lock, close the doors. Then the upstream valves are closed and the downstream valves are opened and water is drained out through parallel passages on the bottom left and right sides. When the lock water level drains to the downstream water level you can open the lower doors and depart the lock. Operation is the same for going upstream.

The NY system is decades if not over a hundred years old. It's an old electro mechanical system in the control room, lots of cast iron and brass. As I recall the electro part was retrofitted for status indicator lights and the rest was still mechanical. The lock keeper had to go to the upper doors to open and close them, return to the main building to operate the valves, and walk down to the lower doors to open them.

Back in a past life over 2 seperate jobs I got to spend a lot of time at a couple of the state locks talking to the keepers and they were always glad to share the history and knowledge of the locks. They'd rebuilt, and repair a corner of the facility every year, in 5 years the whole system would be rebuilt. One year I was there and got to down below in the water passages in the winter to get a trapped critter. The concrete passages were being repaired from natural erosion over time and the lock was dry with all the adjacent water gate control structures lifted for the winter.

Only one time was I refused passage through a lock, well actually wasn't refused but the federal lock operators didn't want to open the lock doors in flood condtions for fear of damaging the doors. I understood and forewent the trip upstream as my business could wait. (Federal Dam in Troy NY on the Hudson River)

I'm sure there are a lot more modern lock systems out there than the old erie canal system!


Bruce singing
Link Posted: 12/29/2012 10:22:58 AM EDT
Unfortunately most rivers could become ambush traps if the banks are at all accessible to people . Many will be thinking the same as you .
Link Posted: 12/29/2012 10:31:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By sorionc:
Think about that all the time. Live in Pittsburgh camp/bug out is outside wheeling then upstream. Could take river / creek directly to it but with no locks might be easier to try back roads.

Ya, I'm high enough up on the hill of the Ohio valley that I doubt a overflowed dock would effect me, but I could see some bridges getting hairy.
Summertime you might be able to walk across parts of the Ohio without locks working or regular dredging

Link Posted: 12/29/2012 3:43:36 PM EDT
The operators work them.

Learn how.

Link Posted: 12/29/2012 4:30:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2012 4:30:30 PM EDT by SteelonSteel]
The corresponding dams and flow control structures if left untended are likely to foul with trees and ice. In NY's erie canal many of the flow control structures get lifted up and out of the way for winter letting the river level take a natural flow profile with all it's associated runs and riffles. In the Spring they drop the dam gates again and bring the level back up for boats. Should some event happen with all the gate structures down they'll get demolished in a season or two.
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