Page 27: of Marine News Magazine (October 2019)
INLAND LOGISTICS set of complicated lock-and-dam projects on the Il-
Ready or Not … linois Waterway, from Chicago to the Mississippi, has
Maritime operators got an advance look at dealing with
A yellow lights ? ashing throughout the Midwest freight full closure last month, starting September 21, and sched- industry. In effect, the entire Waterway will be shut down uled to last until October 5. That’s when work starts at next summer as the Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island the Starved Rock and Marseilles locks to install sill beams
Division, starts some hefty replacement and maintenance across the bottom of the lock chambers. In addition, also at projects, from LaGrange to Brandon Road locks and dams.
the same time, the navigation lock at Lockport, IL, about
Of? cials advise maritime, freight and agricultural busi- 30 miles from Chicago will be closed due to unanticipated nesses to look ahead now, to prepare a logistics scenario miter gate repairs.
that will be ready by July 1, 2020. Rock Island District an-
Importantly, the Waterway between the dams and locks ticipates the navigation industry could need two or more will be open and fully accessible. It’s full transit that will be years to fully recover from the closures. It’s a good news/ severely restricted.
bad news story for the inland industry. Stakeholders have
The Illinois Waterway is old infrastructure, some might long complained that the work needed to be done, but the say ancient. The ? rst phase of the Waterway project money wasn’t there. Now, it is.
opened in 1933, with Lockport construction and the locks
The Illinois Waterway typically carries more than 29 and dams at Brandon Road, Dresden Island, Marseilles million tons of cargo each year, including about 10 million and Starved Rock. All those facilities are in the queue for tons of agricultural products and 4 million tons of fertil- upgrades in 2020. Most work concludes next summer, but izer, according to the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA). some remaining work is planned out until 2023 – 90 years
About 60% of the soybeans grown in IL are exported. Wa- after ribbon-cutting. The upcoming work should extend terways and barges offer two basic transportation advan-
Waterway assets for another 25 years.
tages – low costs for bulk commodities and reliability. It
Concurrent timing is a deliberate part of the Corps’ goes without saying that those advantages will be under work schedule, an approach with maritime and freight in- great pressure in 2020.
dustry support. Of? cials are taking the stoical view about
Credit: USACE, Rock Island Division 27