Historic Milestone for Navigation on the Ohio River

Locks and Dam 52 (Ohio River Mile 938.9): This navigation notice announces the official closure of the Locks and Dam 52 project that was originally opened in 1929. L&D 52 was replaced when Olmsted L&D came online on 4 September 2018. Demolition of L&D 52 began on 8 August 2019. This is a historic milestone for navigation on the lower Ohio River, as this project was in service for nearly 90 years and its replacement marked the end of the modernization era for locks and dams on the Ohio River.

L&D 52 was demolished down to EL 284.0’ (Ohio River Datum) across the width of the river, and the river is being returned to open navigation. Buoys are not warranted between the Irving Cobb Bridge and the I-24 Bridge at this time. The official navigation channel will remain near the Illinois side of the river (at the “Channel Span” of the bridges). Mariners may choose to navigate the Kentucky side of the river (at the “High Water Span” / ”Kentucky Span” of the bridges) at their discretion.

The LOMA transmitter at L&D 52 will be disconnected within the next several weeks. This will leave a gap in LOMA coverage for broadcasting Automated Information System (AIS) aids to Navigation (AToN’s). Physical buoys or other aids to navigation will be used if needed in this area moving forward.

Small follow-up site work may occur in the area, and navigation notices will be sent if that work impacts navigation interests.

Shawn Kenney
Chief, Technical Support Branch