High water closes boat ramps, piers at Tennessee Riverpark

High water closes boat ramps, piers at Tennessee Riverpark

March 2nd, 2018 by Dave Flessner in Breaking News

Caution tape marks off the stairs to the Krystal Pier at the Hubert Fry Center along the Tennessee Riverpark on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn. According to the Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department all of the piers and boat ramps were closed to the public due to high waters.

Photo by C.B. Schmelter

Piers and boat ramps at the Tennessee Riverpark were closed again Friday due to high waters in the wake of this week's record rains.

The Hamilton County Parks and Recreation Department closed the ramp and docks after the Tennessee Valley Authority, which controls the flow of the Tennessee River, raised the flow of water through the Chickamauga Dam Friday to 91,000 cubic feet per second, or 684,000 gallons of water per second, through the generating pumps and spillways at the Chattanooga dam.

TVA held back water this week in its upstream reservoirs after nearly 6 inches of rain fell in the past week in parts of the Tennessee Valley. Rainfall in Memphis for all of February hit an all-time high of more than 11 inches of precipitation.

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Although no rain is expected in Chattanooga before Monday at the earliest, TVA is now drawing down its upstream reservoirs to create more storage capacity for upcoming spring rains, TVA spokesman Travis Brickey said.

The extra river flow has caused the Tennessee River to rise several feet and swamp the piers at the Tennessee Riverpark just downstream from the dam.

The heightened flow of the Tennessee River also is limiting most barge traffic through the Tennessee River gorge and through Chattanooga.

But most barges were already staying off the river if they are trying to ship through Chattanooga to upstream destinations on the Tennesssee River because of the shut down of the Chickamauga Lock.

The Army Corps of Engineers is working on a $3.5 million replacement and repair of its upper gate anchors on the existing Chickamauga lock while work continues on building a new lock.