The original dam was constructed in 1936 and underwent a major rehabilitation from 1989-1999. The Dam consists of an 893-foot long concrete structure with five roller gates and 10 tainted gates. The Lock is 110 feet wide by 600 feet long. Many types of vessels, both commercial and recreational use the lock, passing an average of 15 million tons of cargo and 12,000 recreational boats each year.
Over the years, Lock and Dam No. 6 has shown signs of distress caused by the large amount of barge traffic it experiences each year. LS Black, in a joint-venture partnership with Loeffel Construction, installed a new end cell, which provides protection to the end of the lower guide wall, basically serving as a “bumper” for the guide wall to absorb the initial impact of the barge traffic when entering the lock. The end cell consists of a 24 inch diameter pipe pile foundation that supports a 21 foot diameter cast-in-place concrete structure. The structure is encased in steel sheeting and metal wall armor.