In 2006, fifty-six million tons of commerce worth $11.6 billion transited McAlpine Locks. Due to projected growth to 74 million tons by the year 2010 and 91 million tons by 2030, as well as the age and deterioration of the present auxiliary facilities, there was an imperative need for the Corps of Engineers to construct an additional 110’ x 1200’ lock.
The new lock was constructed within the footprint of the existing auxiliary 600’ chamber. Martin & McDonald Company were hired to install joint sealant on the interior walls (20,000 linear feet) of the new lock and on the exterior floors (2,500 linear feet) of a tunnel system. Because access to the area was difficult, getting in and out quickly with minimum material was critical. Site conditions in the tunnel included constantly wet and damp concrete.
In addition, the sealant applied on the walls of the lock would have to be durable enough to withstand the millions of gallons of water that would soon be present. Martin & McDonald only had 35 days to complete the entire job before the water would flood back into the new lock and the tunnel.
Vulkem 45SSL One-Part, Semi-Self-Leveling Joint Sealant can be applied to “green” and damp concrete, so even with continuous dampness, Vulkem 45SSL was able to be installed without any delay and it would perform well submerged in water over time.
On the interior of the new lock and dam, Vulkem 116 High-Performance Polyurethane Sealant was the perfect choice. A one-part sealant, no mixing was necessary.
Both Vulkem 116 and Vulkem 45SSL allowed Martin & McDonald to get the job done within the required amount of time. Since they were both single components, getting material to the area of installation was easy with minimal loads to carry. What made the difference, though, was the unique formulations which provided the performance despite perpetually wet conditions and demanding conditions to be encountered throughout the products’ service life.