Work Continues on the Illinois Waterway
Work at Dresden Lock and Dam, located near Channahon, Illinois has been ongoing through the summer and is expected to open to navigation on Oct. 1, 2023. (Photo Credit: Kelcy Hanson) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Illinois Waterway closure of 2023 began June 1st to perform critical maintenance on the USACE locks at Marseilles, Dresden, and Brandon Road. The locks are set to reopen on October 1st.

“So far it’s been steady, a lot of work to do in a short amount of time” explained Levi Kriete, Crane Operator Supervisor, Illinois Waterway.

The upkeep of the locks is vital in maintaining a reliable navigation system such as the Illinois Waterway.

“It’s a huge, combined effort of the whole district and contractors as well,” stated Doug Shaer, General Maintenance Supervisor, Illinois Waterway. “It’s for very needed repairs, our infrastructure is aging.”

Bob Castro, Chief of Operations, Illinois Waterway, explained the significance the closure of three locks has on the waterway. “The users of the waterway have stressed that they would like to have one consolidated closure as opposed to many similar long term closures from year to year to year.” Castro added “it’s important to do the work because with the components being worked on the reliability will be brought back to almost new conditions.”

The highly dedicated crews have worked long hours though rain and heat to stay on schedule.

Kriete said “The weather hasn’t been ideal so everybody’s looking at the finish line and doing a great job.” He added they have inevitably run into hiccups along the way, but the crews have been persistent and driven in continuing their jobs day in and day out.

“As far as work’s going, we’ve been staying on schedule working really hard trying to get this project done and keep it moving along,” said Bryce Kingsley, Lock & Dam Repairman.

The work that has been done on the locks includes concrete work within the lock chambers, installing new miter gates and miter gate machinery, emptying valve rehabilitation, culvert valve replacement, electrical upgrades, new control stands and miscellaneous work needed to maintain the locks.