City workers install and remove Veterans Bridge floodgates

SARAH SMELTZ/THE EXPRESS City workers begin installing pieces of the floodgate at the entrance to the Jay Street bridge where it intersects with Water Street on Wednesday morning.

LOCK HAVEN — The floodgates at the Jay Street bridge were successfully put up and taken down by city workers Wednesday.

“It went well,” City Public Works Director Anthony Stopper said.

The purpose of the installation was to not only ensure the floodgates are operational, but to also train new city workers, he said.

“Since there’s a lot of turn over in the city due to retirement we tested (the floodgates),” Stopper said.

The installation took approximately four hours but would typically go much faster, he said.

“We switched our operators around in the loader and the skid steers so that everybody knew what to do. Each operator was trained on the piece of equipment for each task and the laborers were trained on their tasks,” he continued.

If not for the training, Stopper believes the installation would take at most two hours to complete.

“There’s plenty of time to get it installed before the water would get up to the bridge,” he said.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, who installed the levee and the floodgates, the gates are to be tested every three years.

The floodgates haven’t actually been tested since 2009 but this was due to a lack of manpower, Stopper said.

Now, with the proper work force and training, the floodgates will begin being tested every three years, he said.

The city owns five floodgates — the Jay Street Bridge gates, gates near the railroad tracks at William T. Piper Memorial Airport, tracks near the Durrwachter Center on Lock Haven University’s campus and tracks near First Quality near Bald Eagle Creek. The fifth gate is located in a canal that leads into First Quality’s power plant.

“(First Quality) will shut that down themselves but notify the city when they do,” Stopper said.

The other three locations were tested last year and will also be tested every three years, he said.

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