PORT CANAVERAL, Florida – Boaters only have a few days left to navigate through the lock in Port Canaveral, Florida.
That’s because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to close the Port Canaveral lock on January 1st, 2020 for repairs.
According to the Corps, the work is necessary to repair aging and damaged infrastructure in addition to improving public and vessel safety.
The lock will remain closed and dewatered through March 31, 2020.
During the maintenance closure – the first in 10 years – the Lock chamber will be dewatered allowing crews to perform inspections, replace corroded steel structure, paint, install new gate seals and repair manatee protection system components.
During the closure, barges, floating cranes and divers will be working in the Lock entrance, requiring vessel operators in the area to use minimal speed and caution for safety.
Located between the Port’s West Turning Basin and the Banana River, Canaveral Lock was built in 1965 by the Army Corps of Engineers to provide vessels with a safe passage from the river to Port Canaveral and the Atlantic Ocean.
Operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, the lock reduces tidal current velocities in Canaveral Harbor, prevents entry of hurricane tides into the Indian River Lagoon and prevents saltwater intrusion.
The largest navigation lock in Florida, Canaveral Lock was built bigger than planned to allow passage of huge Saturn boosters that propelled Apollo rockets into space for NASA.
Canaveral Lock has a 47-ton sector gate that’s 23 feet high, 54 feet wide and 54 feet across the end. The gate is similar to gates on the Okeechobee Waterway gate.
The Lock chamber is made of earth walls with a stone bottom and stone riprap on its walls.
The Lock changes water levels by an average of 3 to 4 feet by releasing water from the ocean side to the river side or vice versa.
Five Army Corps of Engineers personnel work at the Lock.
Petroleum, spacecraft components and commercial fishing vessels are major commodities that pass through the Lock.