Thick ice slows down locking process at local dams

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PITTSBURGH - Freezing temperatures and ice are causing problems for big barges traveling on Pittsburgh’s rivers.

Channel 11’s Vince Sims visited the Emsworth Lock and Dam Tuesday and saw a massive tow and barge trying to break up ice in an effort to help another tow get into the chamber.

He said another assist boat was also trying to break ice to help the first tow inside.

Lock master Donald Zeiler said thick ice slows down the locking process drastically.

“The tow will come in and help push the barges and fill the chamber up with ice. Then we have the barges and tow pull back out. We’ll float the ice down by itself, open the lower gates, and flush the ice out. So you double your lockage time for all down lockages,” said Zeiler.