Thursday, 19 February 2015

Visit a Lock and Dam

The kids and I are learning about Locks and Dams in US history and joined in a local homeschool group for a Field trip to the Melvin Price Locks and Dams along the Mississippi river.
There is no fee to use the dam and they average 20 large barrages per day going thru the lock along with smaller boats and even Kayaks which tour down the Mississippi in the summer months.

This facility was began being built in 1973 and was not fully in use until 1993 after the great midwest flood of 1993.  We were told that the flood would have been even worse if this wasn't nearly completely built by them.  There are over 28 locks and dams on the Mississippi beginning in Minnesota going all the way to Louisiana.

The lock weighs over 500 tons and has enough steel in it to build ten St Louis Arches

Where the operator works

We were lucky to be able to watch a barge moving into the lock and watch the water raise and fall

It only takes about twenty minutes for the process to complete

There needs to be at least 9 feet of water for the barges for the barges to sail on the Mississippi.  

Barges can carrying anything from coal, to liquid, to machinery


watching the gates open to allow the barge to move down the river

There are a total of 3 locks here, two smaller ones which handle double wide barges.  The largest lock can handle triple wide barges but there is very little room for error.  The largest lock is 115ft across and a tripe wide barge is approx. 110ft across


Inside the there is a small museum explaining the lock and dam system and how the Mississippi benefits our economy

Kids got to try their hand operating a barge...it is much harder than it looks and not many were successful at going thru with crashing the barge...myself included!




An arial view of the lock and Dam


We learned a lot about the Lock and Dam and are now learning about the building of the Erie canal and how that changed the fabric of America!