Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander was in the Scenic City this morning, rallying support for Chickamauga Lock funding. 

"The Chickamauga Lock is important to all of East Tennessee," said Alexander standing on the bank of the Tennessee River. 
The 73 year old Chickamauga Lock provides energy, and transportation for thousands of commercial and personal uses. 

That's why Senator Lamar Alexander was in town to rally support for the Water Resources Development Act. 

"They will be the most important steps taken in a realistic way to rebuild Chickamauga Lock," said Alexander. 

If Alexander's bill is approved, the rebuilding of Chickamauga Lock would start in 2 to 4 years.. and taxpayers would have to pay part of the 600 million dollar price tag.

"If we only continue to provide this extraordinary maintenance," said Alexander, "the lock will have to be closed within a few years." 

To free up funding, Alexander's bill would eliminate a large lock from the pool of available money. 

"It moves out of the system a big lock on the Ohio River called the Olmstead Lock that's been clogging up the system and soaking up all the money," said Alexander.

The Senator says with an expanding economy, the upgrades are desperately needed.

"This lock handles one barge at a time and it takes 6 hours," said Alexander, "the newly constructed Chickamauga Lock can handle several barges at a time, and do it in two hours."

Next week, the senate will consider the bill that includes a fix to the Chickamauga Lock.