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Select this link to view the 2017 study by McDowell Group: Economic Impacts of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.

You also may wish to view a short one-page flier about the Locks or continue on this page for a snap-shot of the economic impacts of the iconic Ballard Locks or see what others are saying about about it.

Lake Washington Ship Canal Users' GroupThe Ballard Locks need repairs to operate another 100 years

$1.2 billion in annual economic impact at stake says study by industry and local government and leaders

SEATTLE—The Ballard Locks provide $1.2 billion a year in economic impact to our region according to a recent study by the McDowell Group, funded by maritime and industrial businesses, Port of Seattle, City of Seattle, and King County.  The report describes the benefits of reliable operation of the Locks, the potential losses in the event of a failure, and steps needed to repair the 100-year-old facility.



The Ballard Locks’ $1.2 billion economic impact at a glance:

  • $480 million in annual sales
  • $120 million in annual payroll
  • 3,000 full-time equivalent jobs directly associated with Locks-related business activity
  • $125 million in freshwater salmon habitat protection and restoration over the last 20 years
  • $40 million in annual spending by 1.25 million visitors and school classes

“Seattle’s maritime industry depends on the Ballard Locks, but the impact goes far beyond Seattle. We need the Locks to be in optimal condition because they enable trade, create jobs, and serve as an essential piece of federal infrastructure driving economic diversity and resilience in our region,” said Charles Costanzo of The American Waterways Operators.

"Thousands of Seattleites and visitors flock to the Locks to see one of our great parks and landmarks," said Mayor Murray. "But the canal is also a major economic driver for the City and especially our maritime industry. I will work with the Port of Seattle, our maritime businesses and our federal delegation to ensure we secure needed funding to keep Seattle's main waterway open for business for another century."

“The success of the Port of Seattle and the Ballard Locks has been intertwined for the last century,” said Commissioner John Creighton.  “The Locks are critical infrastructure for our region that both salmon and industry will depend on for another hundred years.”

The Ballard Locks are the busiest in the nation in overall vessel traffic, supporting over 200 marine businesses and providing safety and environmental benefits to a wide range of stakeholders.   The Army Corps of Engineers estimates that the Locks need between $30-60 million over the course of the next several years to ensure continued reliable operation of the facility. According to the study, failure to invest in the Ballard Locks could have serious and far-reaching negative consequences.

About the Lake Washington Ship Canal Users’ Group:

The Lake Washington Ship Canal Users’ Group represents waterways stakeholders involved in labor, business, government, environmental advocacy, and cultural institutions seeking to raise awareness of the importance of the Hiram M. Chittenden (Ballard) Locks. With the 100-year-old facility in need of significant rehabilitation and facing a growing risk of mechanical and/or structural failure, the Users Group has come together to ask Congress and the Army Corps of Engineers to provide funds to restore the Ballard Locks to prime condition.

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Ballard Locks
Highlights of the study include the following. The locks are:

  • the keystone of a billion-dollar-plus maritime economic system
  • a critical environmental control for the vast watersheds around Seattle
  • an important safeguard for tribal fishing rights
  • a vital piece of public-safety infrastructure
  • the only locks in the U.S. that connects a large urban lake system directly to the ocean.he only locks in the U.S. that connects a large urban lake system directly to the ocean. 

schooners in the Ballard cuts
The need for reinvestment is urgent.Deferred maintenance threatens daily operations; lack of reinvestment threatens the regional economy. Keeping the Locks safe and reliable requires more than flat operations and maintenance funding.

Funding needed to restore the Ballard Locks:
$30-60 Million

What do the numbers say?

40,000 annual transits (most in the nation)

7,500 commercial vessel transits (twelfth highest in the nation)

1.1 million tons of shipping

Where are the dollars and jobs?

Local businesses depend on the Ballard Locks for:

$480 million in annual sales

$120 million in annual payroll

3,000 full-time equivalent jobs directly associated with Locks-related business activity

$545 million in annual commercial fishing harvests by vessels that depend on the Locks

$40 million in annual spending by 1.25 million visitors and school classes.

The numbers add up to a total of $1.2 Billion in Locks-related economic activity!