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Port of Pittsburgh Commission renews call for replacement of locks on the upper Ohio


Pittsburgh, Pa.–The Port of Pittsburgh Commission (PPC) said that river activity in the Port District increased 23% during the first quarter of 2005, with lockages on both the Ohio and the Monongahela rivers exceeding totals higher than any quarter since 2002.

Reports were drawn from the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Lock Performance Monitoring System (LPMS), which provides up-to-the-day traffic data that can be quickly and closely examined to reveal trend information.

According to James R. McCarville, executive director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission, “Our analysis told us that traffic through the Port would likely be increasing during 2006 and we are heartened to have exceeded 2002 first quarter levels which was a record year for the Port.”

The three locks have chambers that measure just 600′ x 110′ one-half the standard 1,200′ x 110′ size of main chambers all along the remainder of the Ohio River. Modern tows (15 barges pushed by a towboat), averaging 1,200 feet, must be split up to transit the locks.

“A modest $3 million for each of the next three years has been requested to study these locks and dams, but was not included in the President’s budget,” McCarville noted. The PPC and industry groups are asking Congress to put the money back in.

“Our area legislators know how urgent the situation is on the Ohio River and are supporting our efforts in that regard.”


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