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Illinois River Locks and Dams Reopen

October 6, 2023   FarmWeek Now

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A trio of locks and dams on the upper Illinois River are operational again after a four-month construction period that kept them closed to river traffic.


Vessels began to lock at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam and at the Marseilles Lock and Dam on Sept. 30, and at the Dresden Island Lock and Dam on Oct. 1, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District announced. The three sites had been closed since June 1.


While Dresden Island Lock and Dam has reopened to traffic, tow haulage units are not operational and helper boats will be required to pull cuts, the Corps said.


Vessels may also be intermittently delayed at the three sites as adjustments are made to fully incorporate the recent upgrades and repair work.


The extended closure of the three pieces of river infrastructure was necessary to make millions of dollars of overdue repairs to miter gates, bulkhead recesses and other equipment.


The Corps had scheduled the closures to take place simultaneously in an attempt to lower the impact to commercial navigation, and the reopening comes as harvest season will bring more demand for moving grain downriver to export facilities.