Emsworth Locks And Dams - Ohio River

Quick Facts

Emsworth Locks And Dams - Ohio River


(412) 766-6213

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Construction began at Emsworth in 1919 and continued until 1922, with the locks first opening in September 1921.

The facility replaced three older wicket-type dams which were constructed between 1877 and 1915. They were: the original Lock and Dam 1 on the Ohio River at Davis Island (completed in 1885); the original Lock and Dam 1 on the Allegheny (1902); and Lock and Dam 1 on the Monongahela (1915).

Davis Island Lock and Dam was the first federally built navigation project and served as a model for the 52 wicket dams built on the Ohio River to permit reliable river traffic from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill.

The Corps rebuilt and converted the dam to a gated structure between 1935 and 1938. This action raised the pool an additional 7 feet to accommodate larger, more modern barges. From 1981-86, some thirty million dollars was invested in a major rehabilitation of the facility. Rehabilitation included the replacing of electrical systems, operating machinery and buildings and re-surfacing of the lock walls.

Map of Emsworth Locks & Dams Ohio River

Latitude, Longitude: 40.510071, -80.091064



  • Fishing

    Fishing permitted. White bass present.



Emsworth Locks and main channel dam are located near the towns of Emsworth, Avalon and Ben Avon, PA. The back channel dam is located at Neville Island.

Phone Numbers


(412) 766-6213