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Lock and dam repairs shut down barge traffic on Illinois River

Jul 15, 2020 04:07 PM

The Army Corps aims to complete five projects by Oct. 1 in time for the fall harvest

Courtesy WAND

(DECATUR, Ill.) — Locks and dams on the Illinois River are currently shut down for extensive repairs on a waterway which moves 40 million tons of farm, fuel, coal and manufactured goods each year, WAND News reported.

The LaGrange Lock and Dam, located north of Jacksonville and about 8 miles south of Beardstown, was built between 1936 and 1939. Its life expectancy was 50 years but it has now been in service nearly 81 years.

In addition to LaGrange, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is repairing four other locks and dams on the Illinois River at the same time, leading to the closure of barge traffic on the river. The goal will be to complete the projects by Oct. 1 in time for the fall harvest.

In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated it will cost nearly $5 billion over 20 years to repair and upgrade the nation's aging locks and dams. Work on the Illinois River is estimated to cost between $150 million and $200 million. 

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