Contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District install a 23-foot-tall concrete shaft enclosure weighing approximately 120,000 pounds as part of the guard wall at the Monongahela River Locks and Dam 4 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, Nov. 16, 2023.

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Corps installs navigation safety signs for upcoming demolition of 107-year-old dam on Monongahela River

Pittsburgh District
Published June 14, 2024
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District is adding navigation safety signs and buoys upstream and downstream of Monongahela River Locks and Dam 3 to warn boaters and industry of hazardous conditions during upcoming demolition of a 107-year-old dam.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District is adding navigation safety signs and buoys upstream and downstream of Monongahela River Locks and Dam 3 to warn boaters and industry of hazardous conditions during upcoming demolition of a 107-year-old dam. The signs will be in place on the river 1,500 feet upstream and downstream of the fixed-crest dam by June 21. The first demolition to breach the dam is scheduled for July 10. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District graphic by Dan Jones)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District is adding navigation safety signs and buoys upstream and downstream of Monongahela River Locks and Dam 3 to warn boaters and industry of hazardous conditions during upcoming demolition of a 107-year-old dam.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District is adding navigation safety signs and buoys upstream and downstream of Monongahela River Locks and Dam 3 to warn boaters and industry of hazardous conditions during upcoming demolition of a 107-year-old dam. The signs will be in place on the river 1,500 feet upstream and downstream of the fixed-crest dam by June 21. The first demolition to breach the dam is scheduled for July 10. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District graphic by Dan Jones)

ELIZABETH, Pa. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District is adding navigation safety signs and buoys upstream and downstream of Monongahela River Locks and Dam 3 to warn boaters and industry of hazardous conditions during upcoming demolition of a 107-year-old dam.

The signs will be in place on the river 1,500 feet upstream and downstream of the fixed-crest dam by June 21. The first demolition to breach the dam is scheduled for July 10.

“Removing the dam near Elizabeth will provide 30 miles of unobstructed river along the lower Monongahela River, which will benefit aquatic life as well as commercial traffic and recreational boaters,” said Steve Fritz, the Mega Project manager for the Pittsburgh District.

The demolition is part of Lower Monongahela River Project, which includes work at three navigation facilities near Braddock, Elizabeth, and Charleroi, Pennsylvania.

Once complete, the project is expected to provide a benefit of $200 million annually to the economy through cost time savings in transporting commodities through the region using inland navigation and reduced maintenance investments.

The contractor plans to begin the dam’s demolition and removal July 10. The work will continue through early December. The contractor will use controlled explosives to fracture the concrete dam and an excavator mounted on a barge to remove the materials from the river. All boats must use the landside lock chamber throughout the demolition process.

“Safety is of utmost importance in everything we do, and that is especially true with a construction or demolition project of this magnitude,” said Col. Nicholas Melin, the Pittsburgh District commander. “We are coordinating with our contractors, the U.S. Coast Guard and our waterway partners to ensure the safety of the public, our staff, and contractors who are involved in this work.”

During the week of July 8, boaters and vessel operators should anticipate a lock closure that will last a minimum of three days, and it could last as long as 12 days following the initial dam breach.

The new signs will direct navigation to our locks to maintain everyone’s safety.

Boats must continue to use the lock throughout the dam demolition process because there will still be a difference between the upper and lower pool elevations due to some restricted waterflow. There will also be a floating plant operating around the dam’s breach site with equipment to remove the rest of the dam.

In the interest of safety for all parties, it is best to maintain distance between the construction crews and normal navigation traffic to avoid accidents. Until the entire dam is removed, and until the Corps verifies that navigation channel is safe through that area, all traffic will be directed to go through the lock.

More information about the project and related documents are available at https://www.lrd.usace.army.mil/Submit-ArticleCS/Projects/Article/3640563/lower-monongahela-river-project.

General Information:

Pittsburgh District’s 26,000 square miles include parts of western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, eastern Ohio, western Maryland, and southwestern New York. Our jurisdiction includes more than 328 miles of navigable waterways, 23 navigation locks and dams, 16 multi-purpose reservoirs, 42 local flood-protection projects, and other projects to protect and enhance the Nation’s water resources, infrastructure and environment.


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