The Illinois Waterway, which provides a navigable connection between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, includes eight lock and dam sites which are long overdue for significant repairs. In order to facilitate these repairs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District is planning a closure of six of the eight sites in the year 2020.
The closures are scheduled to take place simultaneously to lessen the impact to commercial navigation as much as possible.
Currently, closures are being anticipated for the months of July through October 2020. This will allow the highest probability of flooding to be passed and the greatest chance for work to be done before the harvest season when river traffic is very heavy.
- LaGrange Lock & Dam – Versailles, Illinois - Work will include dewatering the lock chamber to replace severely worn lock gate machinery and make significant repairs to crumbling concrete and steel structures. This work is anticipated to take up to 120 days to complete.
- Peoria Lock & Dam – Creve Coeur, Illinois – Work will include dewatering the lock chamber for approximately 60 days to perform inspections and maintenance of areas usually submerged.
- Starved Rock & Dam – Ottawa, Illinois, and Marseilles Lock & Dam – Marseilles, Illinois - Work will include dewatering the lock chamber to reconstruct miter gate sills and replace anchorages in preparations for new miter gates to be installed. This work is expected to take up to 120 days.
- Dresden Island Lock & Dam – Morris, Illinois, and Brandon Road Lock & Dam – Joliet, Illinois – These sites are anticipated to only be partially closed allowing for traffic to pass at night. Work will include installing bulkhead recesses so that future maintenance and dewaterings will be possible. Width restrictions will be necessary for a portion of the time while the slots are under construction, and a shorter, two-week full closure will be needed at some point during the process to construct the bulkhead sill across the bottom of each lock chamber.
In 2023, additional closures will be needed at Dresden Island Lock and Dam and Brandon Road Lock and Dam to install new gates and perform anchorage and sill modifications. A three-year delay is planned so that the navigation industry has ample time to prepare and recoup from the 2020 closures.