US Army Corps of Engineers
Buffalo District

Black Rock Lock Welcomes the First Barge of the Season

Published April 21, 2016
The Lock Wall team, led by Lockmaster Tom Braunscheidel, operated as a well-oiled machine to ensure the vessel and towboat passed safely and successfully through the lock on their way back to Michigan.

The Lock Wall team, led by Lockmaster Tom Braunscheidel, operated as a well-oiled machine to ensure the vessel and towboat passed safely and successfully through the lock on their way back to Michigan.

The towboat “Calusa Coast” picked a glorious day to usher the “Delaware” on her maiden voyage through the Black Rock Lock April 20th

The towboat “Calusa Coast” picked a glorious day to usher the “Delaware” on her maiden voyage through the Black Rock Lock April 20th

The towboat “Calusa Coast” picked a glorious day to usher the “Delaware” on her maiden voyage through the Black Rock Lock April 20th. This was a day for firsts, as this was also the first barge of the 2016 shipping season for the centenarian Black Rock Lock, Buffalo NY.

The barge, constructed in 2006, glided perfectly into place within the walls of the Black Rock Lock. With only about five feet of space on either side of massive vessel, it looked like the barge and lock were built for each other. The Delaware’s youth is confirmed by her blemish-free, shiny black hull.

The Lock Wall team, led by Lockmaster Tom Braunscheidel, operated as a well-oiled machine to ensure the vessel and towboat passed safely and successfully through the lock on their way back to Michigan. The barge had loaded out of Detroit, MI and delivered liquid asphalt to Suit-Kote (The old Marathon Terminal). The next trip is to Hamilton, Ont. The barge will likely pass through the Black Rock Lock six more times this season.

The barge remained in Black Rock Lock for about 20 minutes before moving onward through to the Black Rock Channel, which is about three and a half miles in length. The Lock and Channel were constructed to provide protection from reefs, rapids, and fast currents in the upstream Niagara River. The Lock has been operating since 1908 to allow vessels to carry essential goods and services to business and industry.

Despite the advanced age of the Lock, the facility functioned as smoothly and efficiently as any modern state-of-the-art operation. This achievement is a testament to the operations and maintenance efforts of the Lock Wall Crew and the NY/PA Operations and Maintenance Office, which keep the Black Rock Lock in service and benefitting the shipping industry.