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Funding appropriated for LaGrange Lock upgrade

March 14, 2023   Agri-News

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its work plan for allocating funds provided in the fiscal year 2023 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill.


The appropriations legislation funds the USACE Civil Works mission in addition to U.S. Department of Energy programs.


Specifically, the plan calls for $49.3 million — $12.25 million from Inland Waterways Trust Fund — in navigation dollars be used for pre-construction engineering and design for the 1,200-foot chamber at LaGrange Lock and Dam on the Illinois River.


The LaGrange Lock and Dam project is the next project to start in the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program.


Steve Pitstick, Illinois Soybean Association chairman, is encouraged by the announcement and the impact it will have for Illinois farmers.


“The modernization and improvements to our inland waterway system are long overdue. With over 60% of our crop exported annually, Illinois is the top soybean exporting state in the U.S. Barge transport’s cost and environmental efficiency is unparalleled,” Pitstick said.


“The NESP program balances the need for new 1200-foot locks to increase operational certainty and develop sustainable ecosystems on the Illinois River.


“After many years of working with the Corps and stakeholders, it is a great sign for farmers and other river shippers to see this next major step towards realizing much needed improvements to waterways infrastructure.”