The Little Rock, Arkansas, District, working with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, has begun a new daily preventative maintenance program at two locks that lie within the McClellan-Ker Arkansas River Navigation System, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System Hub reports.
According to the news source, the program began on October 1, and will close Trimble Lock, located near Fort Smith Arkansas, for four hours every day as workers perform routine preventative and scheduled maintenance practices. The work will commence daily at 8 a.m. and run until noon, however the maintenance management team warned that this could be delayed as much as two hours on any given day.
This two-hour cushion gives lock operators increased flexibility to complete a lockage before the maintenance starts. While the maintenance is being performed, operators will not perform any lockages, giving crews the time to focus on the tasks at hand, the media outlet stated.
In addition to the four hours of downtime every day, river authorities also have put up signs at boat launch ramps, marinas and other parts of the river, informing the public of the down hours. Little Rock District officials are encouraging boaters to use ramps found upstream or downstream of the locks to avoid what is expected to be major wait times.
The news provider stated that the system of locks in the river has operated continuously, with the exception of routine maintenance, for more than 40 years, but as the city's budget tightens further, the Corps said it started seeing a growing number of breakdowns and unperformed preventative maintenance projects. By implementing the daily maintenance checks, the Corps said Little Rock will benefit from long-term availability of river facilities and lower the number of unanticipated outages.
Historical and system data show the daily maintenance period will only have a slight effect on commercial and recreational traffic. The Corps also announced it will perform an evaluation of the maintenance program every year.
When maintenance projects are performed in environmentally-sensitive areas such as rivers, they must comply with rules established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
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