OUTDOOR TRAVEL -- While dams operated by the Corps of Engineers generally are off-limits to vehicle crossings since the 9/11 attacks, Lower Granite Dam over the Snake River is scheduled to be opened for vehicle traffic Monday as a special Columbus Day treat.
Read on for all the details from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
If your upcoming Columbus Day weekend plans include a road trip to visit family and friends on the opposite side of the lower Snake River, you may want to keep in mind that most U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams are closed to cross-dam public vehicle traffic on federal holidays, unless otherwise announced.
Lower Granite Lock and Dam, near Pomeroy, Wash., will be open for public vehicle crossings on Columbus Day. Walla Walla District operations officials want to remind the public of the holiday closure affecting two of their three dams in Washington that allow public vehicle crossings – Little Goose, near Starbuck, Wash.; and Lower Monumental, near Kahlotus, Wash.
The usual hours for crossing dams in the Walla Walla District are scheduled as follows:
Lower Granite Lock and Dam –allows traffic crossings daily, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for federal holidays, unless otherwise announced. Tour and school busses must contact the dam at (509) 843-1493 at least 24 hours in advance for crossing authorization.
Little Goose Lock and Dam –open for crossings once an hour, on the half-hour, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and closed on federal holidays, unless otherwise announced. Crossing times are 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning, and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. Tour and school busses must contact the dam at (509) 399-2233, extensions 227, 231 or 252, at least 24 hours in advance for crossing authorization.
Lower Monumental Lock and Dam –open for crossings once an hour, on the half-hour, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and closed on federal holidays, unless otherwise announced. Crossing times are 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning, and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. If approaching from the south shore, travelers can reach the security guard for crossing escort by calling #228 on the phone at south gate. Tour and school busses must contact the dam 24 hours in advance for authorization (509) 282-3219/3218.
At all three dams, passenger cars, motorcycles, open trucks, recreation vehicles, small vans and farm equipment, with the exception of fuel trucks, will be allowed to cross. Large, commercial vehicles, trucks, vehicles hauling flammable or explosive cargo and vehicles that cannot be easily searched will not be allowed to cross the dams.
All vehicles crossing Corps dams are subject to a search. Photo identification is required for all vehicle occupants 16 years of age and older. Foreign nationals must first receive proper security clearance through the district headquarters security office. In order to obtain proper security clearance, a valid passport and, if available, student or work visa, must be faxed to (509) 527-7820 or sent in the form of a PDF by email to CENWW-EOC@usace.army.mil – please, print\type “Dam Crossing Request” in the subject line of the email or fax cover sheet. This must be done four weeks prior to the crossing date. Please include the name of the Corps facility and the date of crossing. Call (509) 527-7146 if you have questions about requesting security clearance to cross the dams.
All firearms must be unloaded and declared at the gate. Security guards are authorized to perform detailed vehicle searches and deny vehicle access across the dam. Drivers may not stop their vehicles to take pictures or sight see during escorted crossings. Pedestrian traffic across the dam is not allowed because of safety considerations.
Operations officials note there could still be closures: the district may, at any time, close access to traffic for extended periods of time due to operations, maintenance or construction-related activities at a dam.
A change in security conditions could also terminate public access across the dam until such time as threat levels decrease. The public will be notified about closures, if possible, in advance, but the crossing is still subject to closing at anytime.
Photo identification, vehicle searches and other previously listed requirements are standard policy for the public to cross at Walla Walla District dams. Travelers can call 1-888-DAM-INFO (1-888-326-4636) for the most current dam-crossing information.