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Chickamauga Lock Project Zeroed Out In Corps Work Plan

March 10, 2023   The Waterways Journal

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The Corps of Engineers released its 2023 Work Plan February 27, and one item was noticeable for its omission. The Corps provided no funds for further work on Chickamauga Lock and Dam, a top priority for waterways interests.


The Work Plan identifies the programs within the Civil Works program that will receive FY 2023 funding and how much each will receive. The Corps’ FY 2023 Work Plan funds 1,325 studies and projects in 50 states and three territories. With the total funding for this fiscal year, the Work Plan funds to completion 14 feasibility studies, six projects in the preconstruction engineering and design phase and five construction projects or elements of projects.


The Chickamauga Lock replacement project on the Tennessee River was proposed $39.3 million in funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 President’s Budget, which funded the project to completion, as well as House and Senate appropriations committee reports, but it received no funding in the final omnibus appropriations bill after the Corps told Congress it no longer had capability to execute funding for the project in FY23. 


During  an August 2022 meeting of the Corps with the Inland Waterways Users Board in Walla Walla, Wash., Stephanie Hall, deputy district engineer for the Nashville Engineer District, said that work on the Chickamauga contract was 42 percent complete.

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“However, the contractor is experiencing delays,” Hall continued, saying the contractor claimed they were due to COVID-19 issues. The contractor requested an additional $96.3 million and 590 days. “Scheduling of an alternative dispute resolution…will likely occur in the February 2023 time frame,” Hall said at the time.

Strengthening Supply Chains

Of the $9.8 billion in appropriations provided for the Army Civil Works program in the act and the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of  2023, approximately $8.8 billion is appropriated in five accounts: Investigations, Construction, Operation and Maintenance, Mississippi River and Tributaries, and the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP).


Construction Projects funded for completion in the FY 2023 Work Plan include the Corpus Christi Ship Channel and the Freeport (Texas) Harbor Channel Improvement.


“The FY 2023 Work Plan for Army Civil Works continues the administration’s substantial investments in projects and actions that will strengthen supply chains and the economy by adding capacity at the nation’s waterways and ports, build resilience to the impacts of climate change by reducing flood risks of communities and restoring the aquatic environment and promote equity in underserved communities consistent with the president’s Justice 40 Initiative,” said Michael Connor, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.


Among the studies funded to completion in the Work Plan are the Tennessee-Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers Deepening Study and the Lower Missouri River Basin study, embracing Kansas, Missouri and Iowa.