ODNR reopens historic Beverly Lock on Muskingum River | News, Sports, Jobs


By Douglass Huxley and Maria Rutherford

Staff journalists

BEVERLY – One of the country’s most historic river locks is once again open to the public and the boating community is ready to reap the benefits.

Located in Beverly, the Muskingum River Lock and Dam Number Four is located near Thompson Run and near West Branch Wolf Creek.

According to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dam Safety Inspection, the last inspection of the lock, prior to repairs, was conducted on October 25, 2018, and the condition of the dam was found to be poor. The lock had suffered erosion damage which had caused the retaining blocks to collapse.

Originally, during an investigation by project engineer, Walt Whitmire with Ruhlin Co. of the Sharon Center, it was found that three of the six sets of blocks under the north gate were missing and required immediate repairs . The lock was completely drained and cleaning was done one section at a time.

Initially, the completion date was set for March this year, but the finalization of the project materialized at the end of August.

The locks along the Muskingum River were recognized as a National Civil Engineering Historic Landmark in 2001. The locks were largely responsible for Ohio’s growth in the 1800s. There are 13 in total, ranging from Zanesville at Mariatta. Not all of them work, however, most are open to daily use for recreational and commercial boat traffic.

Repairs to Beverly Lock come just in time to end the summer season on a high for area boaters who routinely use the lock for recreational purposes. For those who need a refresher on the proper procedures for boaters to follow when using the lock, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources provides the following list:

¯ Enter the idle lock.

¯ When approaching a lock in slow motion, sound a long tone followed by a short tone to indicate your desire to lock. On the Ohio River, use the chain located on the small wall of the lock to activate the whistle.

¯ Do not block the passage of boats leaving or entering the lock or priority vessels. Stay especially clear of barges and other large vessels which create a current that can drag smaller boats in their path.

¯ Avoid restricted areas and areas around lock walls at all times.

¯ Wait well above or below the lock until permission to enter the lock is granted.

¯ Only enter the lock after the lock operator has directed you and cleared you to proceed. Flashing lights or honking will be used to communicate with you. Radio communication is available with the lockmasters on the Ohio River. Channel 16 can be used as an emergency call channel to contact them initially. You will be directed to the transmission on channel 13 or 14. Communications must not interfere with transmissions between tows.

¯ Remain seated as the water level changes and keep your life jacket attached.

¯ Loosely tie your boat to the mooring devices in the lock to allow your boat to move up and down with the water. Use floating mooring devices when available. Boat fenders can be used to protect the hull of your boat.

¯ Carry a minimum of 50 feet of mooring line. At anchor, make sure your lines can rise and fall with the water level. Do not attach to a fixed object.

¯ Exit the lock in slow motion at the signal of the lock keeper or the light signal.

Also do research before any outing involving the use of the lock to check opening hours and understand that “Designated vessels such as U.S. military vessels, commercial passenger vessels, commercial tows, and commercial anglers have priority over pleasure craft.”

Maria Rutherford and Douglas Huxley can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected]



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