River traffic locks up: Aging Chickamauga Lock shut down for repairs

photo A barge carrying a 750,000-pound steam turbine generator is pushed through the Chickamauga Lock by a towboat. The lock was shut down for emergency repairs Tuesday.

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Chickamauga Lock

Chickamauga Lock

A gate failure in the aging Chickamauga Lock has shut down barge and recreational boat traffic on the Tennessee River for up to three weeks.

The unplanned closing of the 74-year-old lock halted river shipments between Chattanooga and Knoxville and forced one Chattanooga barge company to idle its 16-employee tugboat crew until the lock reopens.

"The bomb that we have been warned to expect for the past three or four years seemed to hit us Monday afternoon," said Pete Serodino, president of the river shipping business founded by his father.