Mooring Cell 1st of 8 to be Built in Upper Mississippi River (audio)View Source
When the Mississippi River falls below flood stage in LeClaire, the Corps of Engineers can resume work to construct a new mooring cell near Lock and Dam 14.
In April, the corps held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project in Pleasant Valley.
Andrew Goodall is the NESP Regional Mega-Program Manager in the Rock Island District. NESP stands for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program. He's thrilled, to say the least, since it's the very first construction project in the program’s long history.
"It's targeted at providing a time savings. Every time you see a towboat with barges heading up the river, this will provide a location closer to Lock 14, specifically in this case, and will provide that opportunity for those towboat operators to moor, or tie-off, in that location."
The mooring cell is the first of eight planned to enhance navigation on the Upper Mississippi River. Goodall says not only will it improve navigation, it will also benefit the environment.
For example, towboats will save fuel by turning off their motors while moored, "Versus having to continue run their engines and then furthermore, continuing to potentially churn up the river as well. The goal here is to provide each lockage about 5 to 10 minutes of time savings, which is exponentially beneficial long term."
The mooring cell will be 30-feet-wide. And the money for the project comes from the Infrastructure and Jobs Act. The corps is currently designing seven more mooring cells to be built near locks 7, 10, 11, 15, 20, and 22, plus one more to be located upstream from Lock 14.
Another NESP project Goodall will help oversee is a new fish passage at Lock and Dam 22. The Corps of Engineers is also getting ready to expand Lock and Dam 25 from 600 to 1,200 feet.