US Army Corps Closes Public Access to TN River Locks Following Terrorist Events

Dec 15, 2015

Kentucky Lock near Gilbertsville, KY

As a result of recent terrorist attacks, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District has suspended unescorted public access to all navigation locks on the Tennessee River, including the Kentucky Lock in Grand Rivers.  

The closure is for an "indefinite period of time."

According to a US Army release, while there has been no specific threat to any lock on the Tennessee River, the Corps is restricting public access to the locks as a precautionary measure while it reviews security procedures with the Tennessee Valley Authority, which owns and operates dams adjacent to many of the locks.  

“In light of recent events both worldwide and here in the United States, the Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority both agreed that a precautionary review of our security and public access policies was warranted,” said Lt. Col. Stephen F. Murphy, Nashville District commander in a release.  “The Corps really values the public visits to our locks to learn about the incredible engineering marvels that they are and how they play such a critical role in our regional and national commercial, industrial, and economic success.” 

The Corps originally restricted access to the locks following September 11th, 2001 and some locks reopened last year with security re-enhancements.  The security review comes in advance of the 2016 recreation season.  

Escorted group tours are still allowed by contacting the appropriate lockmaster in advance for guidance and availability. 

The locks with restricted public access include: 

  • Kentucky Lock  (270) 362-4226 - Grand Rivers, KY
  • Pickwick Lock (731) 925-2334 - Pickwick Dam, TN
  • Wilson Lock (256) 764-5223 - Florence, AL
  • Wheeler Lock (256) 247-3311 - Rogersville, AL
  • Guntersville Lock (256) 582-3263 - Grant, AL
  • Nickajack Lock (256) 582-3263 - Grant, AL
  • Chickamauga Lock  (423) 875-6230 - Chattanooga, TN
  • Watts Bar Lock   (423) 334-3522 - Watts Bar Dam, TN
  • Fort Loudon Lock  (865) 986-2762  - Lenoir City, TN