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Progress and Pride: Lock and Dam 25 construction still moving forward

April 1, 2024   Lincoln News Now

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WINFIELD - Lock and Dam 25 is slated to undergo construction of a 1,20O ft system that has been years in the making, due to a bipartisan effort for infrastructure funding under President Joe Biden‘s administration.


The purpose, is for increased efficiency, redundancy, reliability, and safety.


“As tow boats modernized and became more powerful, the number of barges that could be towed increased. A conventional modern tow on the Upper Mississippi River is 1,200 ft long and required to be split into two pieces to lock through. This process can take anywhere from two to three hours which impacts the efficiency and thus the cost of commodities. It also can be a dangerous process for the deckhands and mariners that operate the tows. The new 1,200 ft lock will significantly reduce lockage time down to 30 to 45 minutes,” said the Corps of Engineers Lock 25 spokesperson.


In operation since 1939, according to website for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Lock and Dam 25 is located in multiple counties - Lincoln County and Calhoun County, Illinois at mile 241.4 “on the Upper Mississippi River above the mouth of the river near Winfield.” 


While construction is ongoing, according to the Lock 25 team, the initial Lockwell modification contract, began in January 2023, but is starting to wind down. Presently, work is beginning on fabrication of hydraulic steel structures and will be continuous through 2027.


“The Corps anticipates being in some form of construction for the duration of the project with major construction efforts ramping up after 2027,” said Corps of Engineers Lock 25 spokesperson .


So far, there have been no major delays on the project but the $732 million project, which includes design and initial construction of the project is contingent upon future funding.