Custom Vessels for Olmsted Locks & Dam Construction

  • Client:
  • Completion Date:
    August 2018
  • Key Collaborator:
    US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Project Type:
    Vessel Design & Modification
  • Service Categories:
    Naval Architecture
    Marine Engineering
    Ocean Engineering
  • Vessel Overview:
    Crane barge
    catamaran barge
    excavator barge
  • Challenge:
    Three purpose-built barges for "in the wet" dam construction.


Glosten was brought on board to support the Olmsted Locks & Dam replacement project on the Ohio River in 2004. Construction was carried out using the method of building “in-the-wet” to minimize impacts to river traffic and the environment, which involved assembling shell segments of the dam on land, moving them to the water, and setting them in the river within a fraction of an inch tolerance. Glosten worked closely with Washington Group/Alberici (now AECOM) to design three highly specialized vessels to prepare the river bottom, transport, and precisely install the dam segments into location.



The first of the three vessels Glosten designed was a heavy-lift catamaran barge for lifting, transporting, and placing dam shell segments. Glosten used finite element analysis to ensure its structure could withstand the loads associated with lifting the shells.

The catamaran barge is comprised of two 200-by-90-by-15-foot (70-by-27.4-4.6-meter) barge hulls connected by six towers with 15 crossbeams. Gantry beams running perpendicular to the crossbeams can up to 12 strand jacks, giving the vessel a 4,850-ton lift capacity. Glosten provided on-site support during each of the shell sets to monitor the ballasting sequence and mooring procedure and respond to operational changes as needed.

Glosten also designed an excavator barge with a traveling spud capable of digging to 87 feet (26.5 meters) below the waterline to help prepare the bottom of the river for shell shape, and a crane barge with a 60-foot (18.3-meter), 660-ton capacity ringer crane to support heavy project lifts and tainter gate installation.

  • WG-3Vessels

In The Press.