Friday, May 22, 2009

New Stuff On The Riverwalk 1--Locks!

Never thought I would live to see the day when the San Antonio River would get locks!
I only found out about this a few weeks ago, and was shocked yet intrigued.

I'll try to explain this: To keep a river navigable for ships (in SA's case, tourist barges that will now be able to reach Brackenridge Park) you have to eliminate rapids and shallow areas. To do this, you build a series of locks that effectively control the flow to keep things deep enough.
On the far right, river water flows at it's normal rate over a spillway.
On the far left, doors are open so the lock is ready to accept a barge.
It will motor into the lock, then the operator closes the doors.
Water from upstream is allowed to fill that section, raising the boat 8-9 feet to the level of the river on the other side of the lock.
Doors on the other side open, and the barge is free to motor away.
To go the other way, reverse the process.
You can see the closed doors of the other chamber just to the right of center.
There are no pumps needed when you have gravity and flowing water--something the newspaper got wrong.

A view of a gazebo from which you can watch the lock action.
While taking these pictures a steady stream of curious people were run off the property by a security guard since this area isn't yet open to the public, but yellow warning tape is no barrier to most jackasses.

Around 1978-82 I spent a lot of my free time watching cargo ships, barges, and sailing vessels go through the locks on the Erie Canal/Mohawk River area in upstate New York.
These were a hundred times bigger than the cute little things pictured here.
Then there's the Panama Canal.


KenKzak said...

It's kinda funny. I liked hanging out and watching lock traffic the same time you did. Except that I was watching the Champlain locks along the Hudson River, sometimes just a few miles away.
We knew how to show a girl a good time. Woohoo!

KeithAlanK said...

But do you have pictures?