Engineers say they will use sonar to try to find a lock gate that fell into the Ohio River, blocking traffic through the Markland Locks near Warsaw, Ky.
In what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers called a “catastrophic equipment malfunction,” the gate to the Markland Locks’ main 1,200-foot chamber detached and fell into the river Sunday morning, slowing river traffic to a trickle as officials were forced to open a 600-foot auxiliary chamber, The Kentucky Enquirer, Fort Mitchell, Ky., reported.
The locks, which stretch across the Ohio River from Gallatin County in Kentucky to Switzerland County in Indiana, northeast of Louisville, Ky., see 55 million tons of commodities pass through them each year. The majority of the barge traffic is comprised of coal being carried to electric power plants in the Ohio Valley, the newspaper said.
“I have not seen anything like this or remember anything like this in 24 years,” Corps of Engineers spokesman Todd Hornback said, adding that Corps personnel would break out sonar gear Monday in a bid to find the detached gate.
The Enquirer said the Corps gave the 53-year-old Markland Locks a “D” rating because of the “unreliability” of its miter gates.