The Illinois River began its extensive shutdown to barge traffic today. Six locks and dams along the river will be receiving major repairs. The shut down was announced in February 2018 as a part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintenance schedule.
The LaGrange Lock & Dam will be completely reset to bring it back into reliable service. The maintenance program is hoping to give the lock and dam 25 more years of service, according to the Army Corps. The lock & dam system about 8 miles south of Beardstown was built between 1936-1939.
Barges will not be permitted on the river at all now through October 1st. Industries north of La Grange that will be effected the most will be those that haul iron, coal, oil, and road salt. Railroads and truck traffic in the southern part of the state may benefit from the temporary closure.
The repairs to the lock & dam system hope to make a dent in the nearly $1 billion maintenance backlog listed on the Mississippi Valley Division of the Army Corps’ website.