Demopolis lock closed for emergency repairs

Published 2:48 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

The Demopolis Lock is closed to waterway traffic until further notice due to a breach that occurred on Jan. 16. The lock could be closed for an estimated 30 to 60 days for repairs.

According to the Mobile Engineer District, the closure cuts off both the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and the Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway (BWT) from the Port of Mobile and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

The breach was caused by a concrete sill failure. A large piece of concrete from the upper miter sill broke off, allowing a large amount of water to flow through the lock. Why the sill failed is still under investigation. Mobile District officials said the concrete failure did not involve a collision or other vessel-related incident.

Email newsletter signup

On Jan. 19, the lock chamber was restored to upper pool elevation after the miter of the lower miter gate. This only stopped the leak, however, but did not solve the root of the problem.

The Demopolis Lock and Dam is one of five in a series of locks and dams that provide a 9-foot navigation channel on the Tombigbee River. The waterway is a shortcut to the Gulf of Mexico.