Without the 17 sets of locks and dams in the Pittsburgh Port District, waterborne commerce would not be possible. ​Each lock and dam is owned, operated, and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 


Many of the locks in the port district are well past their 50-year life span–some approaching 100 years old. The cargo that moves through the port district transits an average of three locks. The locks on the Allegheny River see an average of about 4 million​ tons of activity per year. The Monongahela River locks handle about 54 million tons per year,​ and the Ohio River sees an average of 50 million tons of activity per year.​

All of the Allegheny River locks are single chamber. The Monongahela River has 4 double chamber and 2 single chamber locks.​ All of the Ohio River locks are double chamber.


Fixed crest dams enable the operator to make minor adjustments to the rate of flow, although they are not designed for flood control. ​There are 8 dams on the Allegheny River, 6 on the Monongahela, and 3 on the Ohio. 

All of the dams on the Allegheny River are fixed crest dams, meaning the water flows freely over a concrete abutment. The Monongahela has two fixed crest dams and four gated dams. The Ohio River has one fixed crest dam and two gated dams. ​