LaHood, Davis lock up funding for LaGrange repairs

By Benjamin Cox on November 21, 2018 at 3:46pm

Photo captured by John A. Weeks III (C)2008

Two local U.S. Representatives that just got through Election Day are delivering on a project which began receiving guaranteed funding earlier this year.

18th House District Congressman Darin LaHood and 13th District Congressman Rodney Davis announced Wednesday that the current administration will provide the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with $57.5 million in Fiscal Year 2019 funding to continue major rehabilitation work at the LaGrange Lock and Dam located on the Illinois River south of Beardstown in Cass County.

The LaGrange Lock is the southernmost lock on the Illinois River and accommodates a heavy amount of barge traffic, the majority of which includes agricultural commodities. It was placed into service almost eighty years ago, in 1939.

According to the press release sent out by House of Representatives Deputy Communications Director John Rauber, the lock currently requires serious rehabilitation of concrete, electrical, and mechanical systems. Major rehabilitation work has not been performed on the lock in nearly thirty years. More than 60 percent of all U.S. grain exports move through locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers including LaGrange, but due to their age, reliability has become a significant issue in recent years.

Earlier this year, LaHood and Davis announced the initial $10 million allocated for FY 2018 to begin this project. With the additional allotment promised by the Trump administration, the total funding for LaGrange Lock and Dam repairs has now reached $67,500,000.