Icy Ohio River makes Emsworth Lock and Dam employees' jobs difficult

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NATRONA HEIGHTS, Pa. —

The folks at the Emsworth Lock and Dam have been working around the clock, clearing ice from the river so barges can get through faster.

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When the Ohio River doesn’t flow, it freezes very quickly.

Making bubbles is one way assistant lock master Ian McKelvey helps break up the ice.

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Lock operator Jim Bishop opens the gates to help break up the pieces even more.

“This will suck up the ice into the chamber, so when a barge comes in, we’re not locking all the ice first,” said Bishop.     

Other lock employees use long sticks to break up the ice before it goes through the gates.

McKelvey said this time of year about 10 barges go through the Emsworth Lock and Dam each day.