Much of the Illinois River will be shut down next summer. Flooding this year delayed plans, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced last year in February that much of the lock & dam system in the northern part of the Illinois River needs heavy maintenance. Six of the 8 locks and dams, beginning at the LaGrange Lock & Dam will be closed.
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 Tom Heinold, Chief of Operations for the Rock Island District of the Army Corps.
There are other major maintenance and repair projects north of LaGrange that will take place throughout half the year in 2020. Barges will not be permitted on the river at all during June through October 2020. Pike Scott Farm Bureau Director Blake Roderick told the Pike Press last week that industries upriver that haul iron, coal, oil, and road salt will be effected the most. He said that agriculture movement south will operate normally, saying that most of the grain hauled on the Illinois River travels south to the Mississippi River and further on down river. Roderick noted that railroads and truck traffic in the southern part of the state may benefit from the shutdown temporarily. The industries north of LaGrange are likely to use truck and rail for transport of goods to the southern half of the Mississippi River and Illinois River.
The Mississippi Valley Division Regional Backlog of Maintenance for navigation is valued at over $1 billion according to the Army Corps’ website.