Menasha Lock closed for repairs AGAIN — inconveniencing boaters on busiest weekend of year

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MENASHA (WITI) — The mood wasn’t as festive for some boaters this Fourth of July because the Menasha Lock that was broken, then repaired this week, had more troubles Friday — on the Fourth of July.

The Menasha Lock connects two major lakes: Little Lake Butte des Morts and Lake Winnebago.

More than 200 boaters were expected to use the Menasha Lock this weekend — the busiest weekend of the year.

The Menasha Lock is located northwest of Lake Winnebago in Menasha.

“So now here we are with two boats and we’re stuck here,” said Ann Potter of Appleton.

It was a Fourth of July fiasco for boaters on the Fox River.

The Potter family was in Menasha for the festivities and had to make other plans.

“We’re okay tonight because we’re here for the fireworks, but we planned to go back. We had a lot going on this weekend,” said Potter.

Instead of going by water, they’ll have to go by land.

“A little before 2:00 (Friday) afternoon we had another gate failure here,” said Harlan Kiesow, with the Fox River Navigational Authority.

Yes, another.

The Menasha Lock was shut down for a week because of a broken door hinge.

Crews repaired the hinge and the Menasha Lock re-opened Thursday evening, July 3rd.

The Menasha Lock operated for about 12 hours before another problem with that same hinge.

“It’s not exactly the problem that we had last time, but it still is with the upper hinge and we had some failures of some connecting rods,” said Kiesow.

Harlan Kiesow says the next step is to dig deeper and determine what caused the problem. And that process won’t begin until Monday, July 7th.

“If we have to pull the gate it will be down for quite awhile,” he said.

“Not again! It’s just unfortunate,” said Bill Garvin, Appleton.

Boaters in Appleton stuck on the other side of the Menasha Lock were frustrated too.

“It’s disappointing of course because it’s the biggest boating weekend of the year pretty much and it would be nice to have the lock open,” said John Yale, Town of Menasha.

But boaters say they won’t let the broken lock ruin their holiday weekend.

“You just deal with it,” said Garvin.

Menasha’s fireworks shows were at Jefferson Park Friday night and Riverside Park in Neenah.

The Navigational Authority helped ferry people to their cars and helped to find them places to moor their boat.

If more serious repairs are needed – it could take as long as three weeks before the Menasha Lock reopens.