The Greenup Locks and Dam system is critical to a number of companies in the coal, petroleum, iron and steel companies that transport their materials along the Ohio River. In basic terms, a locks and dam system traps and contains water in a mechanism that transports large vessels past an area where the river is unnavigable. More than 62 million tons of materials pass through the Greenup Locks and Dam annually, with that number expected to increase to more than 113 million tons by 2030.
In 2011, a study utilizing Monte Carlo simulation and @RISK was commissioned to analyze the internal stability of the system’s middle wall, which forms the water barrier separating two lock chambers. The study set out to answer three specific questions:
- What is the probability of unsatisfactory performance throughout the planning horizon, through the year 2070?
- When is rehabilitation work anticipated to be necessary?
- What should be done to insure continued safe operation of the locks?
The results from the study allowed the owners of Greenup Locks and Dam to accurately forecast when certain monoliths would need repair, based on their current level of stability. Having that critical insight ensured the creation of a repair timetable that would still allow the system to remain open, and keep the flow of materials—and the economies of critical industries—moving.