13th District Congressman Rodney Davis is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to speed up renovations at the La Grange Lock & Dam ahead of the fall harvest season. Davis and a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the Illinois delegation on Monday sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James regarding the closure and maintenance of the dam.
Davis’ letter noted the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) informed stakeholders LaGrange’s expected reopening would be September 30th, 2020 earlier this year. Davis says recent updates at LaGrange have revealed that the new expected completion date isn’t until some time in October and that new issues at the Lockport Lock may necessitate future closures.
Davis believes that the closure of the locks threatens Illinois’ ability to globally compete in the world agriculture market because of the Illinois River Waterway’s importance to shipping.
Davis says: “Estimates for this Fall’s harvest indicate large crop yields. As the local farmers in our districts rely upon the Illinois Waterway to ship crops to market, any further delay in completion of the maintenance could impact the marketing of a farmer’s crop as well as reduce U.S. agriculture’s competitiveness in foreign markets.”
Davis has asked that they prioritize the original reopening date and to speed up completion of maintenance.
Also signing the letter were fellow Republican Congress Representatives Cheri Bustos, Mike Bost, Adam Kinzinger, and 18th District Congressman Darin LaHood.