Chicago Harbor Lock

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Satellite view of the Chicago Harbor Lock separating the Chicago River (left) from Lake Michigan (right). The west gate is open and the east gate is closed putting the lock chamber at the level of the river.
View towards lock from one of Chicago's high-rises, with the Outer Drive Bridge in the foreground

The Chicago Harbor Lock is a pound lock located in Chicago, Illinois, separating Lake Michigan from the Chicago River.

Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lock was designed and built between 1936 and 1938 by the Sanitary District of Chicago as a component of the project to reverse the flow of the Chicago River and is one of two entrances from the Great Lakes to the Chicago Area Waterway System - the other entrance being the T.J. O'Brien Lock and Dam on the Calumet River.

The lock chamber is 600 feet long, 80 feet wide, and 22 feet deep and can accommodate up to 100 vessels at once. The lock requires 12–15 minutes to cycle through a typical water-level difference of two to five feet. Water level is controlled via gravity through partially opened lock gates.

The Chicago Harbor Lock is the fourth-busiest lock in the nation for commercial use and the second-busiest in the nation for recreational use.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chicago Harbor Lock" (PDF). United States Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 22 June 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°53′18″N 87°36′23″W / 41.8884°N 87.6064°W / 41.8884; -87.6064