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Published: 23 January 2009   •   Media release

Murray River users will not be able to pass through Lock 1 at Blanchetown in South Australia for about two months from January 27 while essential maintenance work is undertaken by SA Water on behalf of the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).

MDBA Chief Executive Mr Rob Freeman said the lock closure is part of a six-year maintenance program on all of the locks along the river and Lock 1 would definitely be reopened before Easter.

“This is the first time we have planned to empty the lock chamber at Lock 1 since the late 1960s when the wooden gates were replaced with steel. The empty locks will allow SA Water to do a comprehensive inspection of the underwater components,” Mr Freeman said.

“Although users will not be able to travel the full length of the River during this period, they will still be able to enjoy using the river either upstream or downstream of Lock 1.

He said the grounds and facilities around the lock would also be closed to the general public and would reopen following completion of the maintenance.

Works to be carried out on Lock 1 include:

  • building temporary dams on the upstream and downstream ends of the lock chamber;
  • emptying the lock chamber of water;
  • inspecting and repainting the lock chamber gates;
  • replacing the large valves which control the flow of water into and out of the lock
    chamber; and
  • inspecting the chamber floor; and
  • any repairs on components which would normally be submerged.

Mr Freeman said consultation with River Murray tourism operators helped to develop the works program to avoid peak boating seasons and to minimise the interruption.

The community will be notified when the work is complete and the lock chamber is back in operation.

“The lock and weirs have been operating for more than 80 years and this work will ensure that they continue to operate for a long time to come,” Mr Freeman said.

The next lock scheduled for maintenance is Lock 2 at Waikerie and it is anticipated work will begin in late July. The public will be notified prior to the closure of the lock.

Media contact: Sam Leone, phone (02) 6279 0141

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