One of the most historic river locks in the country is once again open to the public. Primarily used for recreational travel, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has completed the reconstruction of the Beverly Lock on the Muskingum River.
“This reopening will mean so much for the boating community that has not been able to use this part of the popular waterway for years,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “These repairs have cleared the way for safe recreation on the Muskingum River while also preserving the remarkable history that dates back nearly 200 years.”
The Beverly Lock is located on what is known as the Muskingum River Parkway. This waterway features the nation’s only complete working system of hand-operated river locks. Built in the mid-1800s, the Beverly Lock is one of 10 that helped connect the Ohio River with the Erie Canal. The lock helps boats safely bypass ten dams on the Muskingum River from south Zanesville to the Ohio River at Marietta. They are operated at no charge for recreational boats.
Construction on the Beverly Lock began back in 2020 when a sinkhole along the lock wall was spotted. Further inspection showed water flowing around the main gates. ODNR worked with the Ruhlin Company and Gannett Fleming to assess the issues and form a creative approach to rehabilitate and restore the historic structure.
“The prospect of working on a 180-year-old historical structure was exciting for everyone involved, and we take great pride in the successful outcome,” Ruhlin Company Senior Project Manager Michael Garver said. “The achievement is in great part due to the collaboration between the ODNR project management team, Ruhlin, Gannett Fleming Design Engineers, seasoned tradespeople, and sub-contractors. All are responsible for restoring the Beverly Lock #4 back to a safe and operational condition, and hopefully, ensuring its continued use for decades to come.”
“Gannett Fleming was honored to partner with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ruhlin Construction Company to implement innovative solutions to stabilize the nearly 200-year-old historic Beverly lock,” Gannett Fleming Senior Project Manager Joseph Rikk, Jr. said. “The team’s collaborative approach and skill produced sustainable solutions that returned the lock to operation while preserving the integrity of this piece of Ohio’s history.”
The last significant rehabilitation of the lock was in 1891. The total cost of this project was $3.5 million.
In 2001, the Muskingum River locking system was designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. This designation recognizes the lock system as one of the nation’s great engineering marvels, along with the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, and Hoover Dam.