A three month lock closure on the nations inland

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Unformatted text preview: 19052-192.stm )hhs-ps Pittsburgh, which owes its location and historic emergence to the meeting of three rivers, is particularly in peril. The region's 23 locks and dams, key to the annual passage of 33 million tons of coal, petroleum and other commodities, are some of the oldest in the nation. At the Elizabeth locks and dams, 105 years old, chunks of concrete periodically fall from a collapsing roof in the tunnel that carries water to fill and empty the lock chambers. Farther up the Monongahela River at Charleroi, the walls of a lock built in 1932 sway back and forth with each filling and emptying. What happens if or when a catastrophic failure occurs? River traffic will shut down for months. Local economies will suffer. Cargoes will be put on more expensive rail cars and trucks -- barges are estimated to be $14 a ton cheaper -- and this will have costly implications for businesses and consumers alike. Electricity rates will go up; an October study by the corps estimated that a closure of the Lower Mon could increase electricity costs by $1 billion annually. Communities that take water from the river could experience problems. When disaster strikes, it will come because of absent-minded, half-hearted political neglect. More than half the nation's locks and dams, built to last 50 years, are still operating years after their projected life. To put it another way, previous generations have bequeathed great works of engineering to Americans living today, but the challenge of keeping up the system has not been met. While some projects proceed, others are put off or delayed. With each delay comes more complications and greater cost. The Corps of Engineers is forced to play a losing game of catch-up, making emergency repairs to put off the day of reckoning. 4|Page Inland Waterways Affirmative BDL 1AC – 2/6 Contention II. Harms Failure of one river lock could bring all river commerce to a standstill Kristin Meira, Executive Director @ Pacific Northwest W aterways Association, 2012 (Political Transcript of a hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, proquest) Early in the last decade, our colleagues at the Portland and Walla -Walla Districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recognized that our aging locks would require strategic repairs to remain operational and reliable. They also recognized that these projects would need to be planned and executed to have the least impact to our regional and national economy. It's important to remember the scale of our navigation infrastructure projects. A catastrophic failure of one of our lock gates would translate to at least a one-year closure of that project. That is how long it takes to design, fabricate, and install a lock gate of that size. We also do not have any smaller, backup locks at our projects. Allowing our locks to degrade to the point of failure simply is not an option. A closure of one of our projects creates a bottleneck for the entire system. 5|Page Inland Waterways Affirmative BDL 1A...
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This document was uploaded on 02/06/2014.

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