Monday November 21, 2022


One of Seattle’s not-so-modern marvels was cleaned Friday by the Army Corps of Engineers and some well-equipped volunteers.  

The Ballard Locks are 105 years old and remain one of Seattle’s most popular attractions. The locks are a gravity fed system used to raise and lower boats and connects the saltwater Puget Sound to the freshwater Ship Canal that leads to Lake Washington.   

Operations Plant Manager Jonathan Hofstra said they are the busiest locks in the nation. There are about 50,000 “lockings” a year between the upper and lower chambers and is operational 24/7. 

Officially known as the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, the Ballard Locks host a fall cleaning that empties the large lock. The annual maintenance and inspection provides a window of opportunity for the Army Corps of Engineers to host a vital cleaning.  

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