Fleischmann promises funds for Chickamauga lock
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann dodged obstacles both physical and political Tuesday while touring the crumbling Chickamauga lock.
As he did in two prior visits to the 72-year-old TVA structure, the freshman Republican vowed to secure money for the lock's much-needed repair and replacement but admitted uncertainty in pinpointing a timeframe.
Unlike his other fact-finding missions, however, Fleischmann wore a hard hat, black rubber boots and a solemn expression as he toured the lock's bowels for the first time. Negotiating a soupy mix of fish, tunnels, mud and algae, he investigated cracks in the concrete, outdated gates and other problems related to passing barges through TVA's phalanx of dams along the Tennessee River.
The 360-foot-by-60-foot behemoth is "an antiquated structure," Fleischmann said. "Time is not on the side of the existing lock."
Even the money that allows the lock's operators to maintain gates and instruments is at risk of drying up when federal fiscal 2013 begins Oct. 1. Funding for such "aggressive maintenance" at the old lock and money for the construction of a stalled replacement lock are zeroed out for the upcoming fiscal year, officials said.
Read More. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)