The Army Corps of Engineers had hoped to see some federal money allocated for the lock at Chickamauga Dam, but as it stands now there won't even be maintenance funds in the 20-13 Federal Budget.
Tennessee Third District Congressman Chuck Fleischmann took an inspection tour Tuesday morning.
There are actually two projects underway at the Chickamauga Dam.
The first is construction of a new lock. That will be years in the making.
While the second job is for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to maintain the 72 year old lock that needs constant maintenance.
The lock is now "dewatered" and Congressman Chuck Fleischmann got a look .
REP. CHUCK FLEISCHMANN, (R) TENNESSEE "If there were to be a failure of the existing lock, it would be litereally a stoppage of water traffic of barges and of critically important material flowing up the Tennessee River."
With the lock empty, crews could move in and take care of predictable wear and tear..especially on the big gates.
Lt. Col James DeLapp is with the Corps of Engineers.
LT. COL. JAMES DeLAPP, NASHVILLE DISTRICT COMMANDER,US ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS.
"For him to go down and see the actual status of the lock right now, with the water out of it, to see some of the cracking and some of the stuff that's going on underneath is important."
The 360 foot long lock has been closed since August 21st, and is scheduled to re-open September 21st. Its necessary every 3 years, paid for by a 2-million dollar a year allotment which will not be in next years federal budget.
REP. CHUCK FLEISCHMANN "Here's the other challenge, the new lock, that is about half-way complete will
take, once funding is secured, about 4m to 6 years..and that's an awful long time."
To complete the new lock will cost in excess of 500 million dollars.
Matching funds would come from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
LT. COL. DELAPP "We think we have several more years we can get out of it by doing the maintenance like we're doing right now..we think we can extend the life of it."
Congressman Fleischmann says Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker along with the Tennessee delegation in Washington are also working to secure new funding for the Chickamauga lock.