Funding secured for Montgomery Locks and Dam repair project

Beaver County Times

June 21–The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expecting to receive $276.4 million in the new fiscal year, including $2.3 million in funding allocated for the Upper Ohio Navigation Project.

That project for years has suffered from a lack of funding for much-needed repairs to the aging system of locks and dams on the Ohio River. It includes the Montgomery Locks and Dam in Industry, which is used by more than 300 commercial barges and boats every month.

Local officials and politicians for years have been talking about the dire need for repairs at the facility. To that end, a study several years ago concluded that the probability of Montgomery experiencing a catastrophic failure will rise to 50 percent by 2028.

In a news release, the Army Corps said the allocation of the $2.3 million for the Upper Ohio project will be used for “preconstruction design work,” as well as further economic analysis of the locks and dams.

In addition to Montgomery, the Emsworth and Dashields locks and dams are included in the Upper Ohio Navigation Project.

Once underway, the project will include the replacement of each auxiliary lock at the three facilities, as well as the construction of one new 110-foot-wide by 600-foot-long lock chamber at each location.

“This funding will allow us to continue to provide safe and reliable navigation, reduce the risk of flooding and fund other critical water resource missions that improve the quality of life for the people living in the Upper Ohio River Basin,” spokesman Col. John Lloyd said.

In addition to the $2.3 million for predesign work, the allocations for the next fiscal year include $9.3 million in operations and maintenance funds to complete “high priority work” at the region’s locks and dams.

The U.S. Army Corps’ district includes 26,000 square miles in western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, eastern Ohio, western Maryland and southwestern New York.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Waterways Council, Inc.