Lock, dam system gets $829M for modernization projects

The lock and dam system on the Upper Mississippi River will soon get $829 million for modernization projects.

That funding, which will be allocated through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was announced earlier this week. It will be used to:

  • Complete the modernization of Lock and Dam 25 near Winfield, Missouri. This project will include the construction of a new 1,200-foot lock. The Army Corps will design and construct a lock replacement at Lock and Dam 25 about 50 miles north of St. Louis, according to a work plan. Opened in 1939, the system is well past its 50-year design life.
  • Do an environmental restoration project at Lock and Dam 22 near Saverton, Missouri.
  • Other small-scale ecosystem and navigation projects in the region.

“Today’s announcement is a huge win for our economy, jobs, American farmers, trade and the environment,” said U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline. “This years-long effort to modernize the locks and dams of the Mississippi will help our agricultural producers bring tons of goods to market faster, increase trade by speeding up the transport of American products, spur job creation, alleviate supply chain stress and help reduce transportation emissions. With this funding, we’re bringing taxpayer dollars home and revolutionizing how efficiently we utilize our waterways.”

The money for the project is coming from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) on the Upper Mississippi River System. That program has the goal to modernize and expand seven outdated locks at the most congested lock locations along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers as well as fund nearly $2 billion in ecosystem restoration. 

The Upper Mississippi River System transports more than 60% of America’s corn and soybeans and has suffered disruptions due to infrastructure problems. In May 2021, Mississippi River shut to vessel traffic near Memphis, Tennessee, because of a bridge fracture, causing a backlog of more than 1,000 barges.

A 2019 study released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that rebuilding NESP locks would inject $72 billion additional dollars into the nation’s GDP.

The Upper Mississippi River system transports more than 60% of America’s corn and soybeans, is home to 25% of North America’s fish species, and is a globally important flyway for 40% of North America’s migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.

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