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Damaged Columbia River lock to reopen on Sept. 30 -U.S. Army Corps

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, Sept 11 (Reuters) - A damaged lock on the Columbia River that has stalled the flow of grain and other commodities through the U.S. Pacific Northwest will reopen on Sept. 30, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Corps closed the navigation lock at the Bonneville Dam last Thursday after detecting problems during operation. After draining the lock, inspectors found a crack in a concrete sill at the base of the gates that prevented the lock from closing properly.

The shutdown at Bonneville halted the flow of wheat, wood products and other commodities on the Columbia River, which forms part of the border between Oregon and Washington state.

Grain export terminals along the Columbia load and ship about half of all U.S. wheat exports, mostly bound for Asian markets, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture export inspections data.

"Between now and Sept. 30, our teams will be working around the clock to construct the new sill to restore Columbia River traffic," Colonel Aaron Dorf, Portland District commander, said in the statement.

The repair involves demolishing the roughly 100-foot-long (30.5-metre) sill, drilling holes for rebar, forming a new sill and allowing time for the concrete to cure, the statement from the Corps' Portland District said.

(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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