In the News

Lock & dam work still on schedule despite current high water

May 25, 2020   FarmWeek Now

View Source

Current high water on the Illinois River will not impact planned lock closures on the Illinois River this summer.


“We are still holding to those original dates,” said Tom Heinold, chief of operations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District. “That’s probably the question I get most often nowadays, especially with the last two weekends worth of rain.”


Heinold visited with RFD Radio on Monday and said the Corps will continue to provide updated information online. The district includes 12 lock and dam sites on the Mississippi River, eight lock and dam sites on the Illinois Waterway, and five flood control reservoirs in Iowa and Illinois.


“In fact, the reason that we held off on scheduling the closures until the first of July is precisely the situation we are in right now,” Heinold said. “When we looked at the historical hydrographs, we saw that a typical May and June would have water over the walls and July should dry out. That is proving to be typical for us.”


The current plan calls for full closures for numerous upgrades that include major rehabilitation and lock machinery replacement at the LaGrange Lock and Dam July 1-Sept. 30.


“Right now we’re estimating that the water could be back off the wall at LaGrange by mid to late June and that will allow us to mobilize that site,” Heinold said. “We’ll have the walls cleaned off and we’ll be able to put bulk heads in and pump down that chamber and get to work on the rehabilitation this summer,”


Other projects still on target for this year include:


- dewatering for maintenance and inspection at Peoria July 6-Sept. 30;

- upper and lower miter gate installation at Starved Rock July 1-Oct. 29;

- upper miter gate installation at Marseilles July 1-Oct. 29;

- and work at Dresden Island July 6-Oct. 28.