Corps to cut lock hours
BERWICK, La. — As part of an effort to reduce costs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is announcing reductions in operating hours at many of its locks nationwide, including the Berwick Lock and the Calumet floodgates, beginning Dec. 30.
“Basically, it’s a nationwide decision to reduce some of the costs at locks that don’t have much traffic. So, we are reducing some of the hours there,” Michael Lowe, corps operations manager for the Atchafalaya region, said.
“We’re waiting to hear back from some of the locals on how it will impact them. It may have an impact, and it may not have an impact,” he said.
The Berwick Lock now operates around the clock, but when the changes are made, it will be unmanned from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.
“Navigation in the lower part of Bayou Teche can all come in and out of the Berwick Lock. We don’t always rely on east Calumet. Most of the use is on the lower portion anyway,” Lowe said.
Lennis Paray, the supervising lockmaster at the Berwick Lock, said that movements through the lock “could be as little as 10 and as much as 25” per day, with the night having the least frequent activity.
“It varies. We include recreational boat movements,” he said.
Paray said that he would be contacting local businesses who use the lock to alert them of the change.
Paray said the decision from the corps is not meant to result in any layoffs, that some civilian employees who retire will not be replaced, and that the number of employees at the Berwick Lock, currently at 10, will be reduced by one when the changes take place.
According to Paray, the Berwick Lock was opened in November 1950.