CREVE COEUR, Ill. (WMBD) — A maintenance project years in the making is going full speed ahead.
Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Rock Island District) said their work on the Peoria Lock and Dam is going as planned and is expected to improve commercial use of the Illinois Waterway.
District Commander Col. Steve Sattinger said the work is long overdue.
“It’s been over 40 years since the last time we did a project of this magnitude,” Sattinger said.
Sattinger said the system operates year-round which leaves very little opportunity to schedule repairs. He said the site is one of five Lock and Dams on the Illinois Waterway currently undergoing construction. Others include LaGrange, Starved Rock, Marseilles, and Dresden Island.
“We’re going to repair, replace and inspect a lot of the equipment here in the lock chamber and make sure it’s ready for the next 25 years of service,” Sattinger said.
Doug Morgan, Lock Master, said the Peoria Lock and Dam has been in the community since the late 1930s. He said the Lock’s purpose is to help move boats from one pool to the next and allow modern ships and barges to travel the river carrying commercial products like food, chemicals and minerals.
Morgan said they’ve closed the site for 90 to 120 days to de-water (drain) the lock chamber about 25 feet while repairing and updating structures that have seen wear and tear over the years.
“They are pouring concrete in the bottom of the lock chamber, they are pouring concrete in some of the vertical wall sections as well as replacing componentry for the miter gates that swing,” Morgan said.
Sattinger said they’ve made sure to coordinate with their partners, who utilize the river, over the past four years to develop alternative means to move their products while construction takes place.
“That’s why it was so important that one we stuck to our schedule, and two that we spent so long in advance talking to those partners,” Sattinger said.
He said they’re currently sticking to that schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic and hope to finish by October.
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