US Army Corps of Engineers
Buffalo District Website Website

Black Rock Lock opens following winter maintenance

Published May 18, 2020
LDP I participants walk on a lock

Participants of the Army Corps of Engineers' Leadership Development Program I tour the Black Rock Lock, located at Buffalo District's reservation, as part of a team building activity for the program. The goal of the program is to develop results oriented, agile leaders with broad perspectives who lead people and lead change successfully in complex environments.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District completed repairs to the upper east and west miter gates and lock anchorages of the Black Rock Lock, after it closed in late November for repairs.

USACE Buffalo District, Huntington District, and the Regional Rivers Repair Fleet (R3F) personnel from fleets moored in Pittsburgh, Nashville and Louisville worked to improve the Black Rock Lock infrastructure and sustain its functionality for future navigation seasons.

"The Black Rock Lock serves as a critical waterway connection between Buffalo and Tonawanda for industrial, recreational and fishing vessels.  This project was quite an undertaking.  We are fortunate to have the great professionals at the Army Corps Buffalo District overseeing maintenance of our waterways which continue to see incredible growth in activity coinciding with development of our waterfront," said Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26th District).

“The Regional Rivers Repair Fleet work hard through the winter to ensure the Black Rock Lock would be operational for the 2020 navigation season.  They had the added challenge the last few months of overcoming challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said LTC Jason Toth, USACE Buffalo District Commander.  “Their resiliency has been simply amazing, ensuring the Black Rock Lock is ready to support our Nation’s economy.  The crews will now return home and get to work on repairs to the inland navigation system within our Division.”

The Black Rock Lock and the Black Rock Channel provide safe passage for vessels to travel between Buffalo Harbor and Tonawanda Harbor around the reefs, rapids and fast currents that exist in the upstream portion of the Niagara River.

The lock is 105-years old and will need future repairs, planned for the winter of 2020-21. The lock provides about $3.94 million in economic benefits to Buffalo Harbor annually.

The Black Rock Lock hours and dates for the 2020 navigation season are as follows:

2020 Navigation Hours

18 May-23 May     8:00 am - 4:00 pm 7 Days per week

24 May - 12 Sept  (Extended Season)    

  • 8:00 am - 10:00 pm Weekdays
  • 11:00 am - 10:00 pm Weekends

13 Sep - 24 Oct    8:00 am - 4:00 pm 7 days per week

25 Oct – 31 Dec   8:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday – Friday

Commercial traffic will be accommodated on a 24-hour basis with prior notification.

Questions on lock operations may be directed to the Black Rock Lock during scheduled operating hours by calling (716) 879-4403.

Notice to Navigation:

To download hi-res version of photo please visit:

Andrew Kornacki
716-352-8669 (cell)
1776 Niagara Street

Release no. 20-010