Illinois Waterway Closures Extended

High water has delayed the reopening of Starved Rock and Marseilles locks on the Illinois Waterway. The temporary closures began September 20 and were expected to last until October 5, but rains and high water have changed those plans. According to Tom Heinold, chief of operations for the Rock Island District, the flood waters overtopped contractors’ cofferdams, requiring stoppage of work at both dams.

The Rock Island District’s Navigation Status latest website update, dated October 2, shows a reopening date of October 13 for Starved Rock and Marseilles locks.

The contractors are installing bulkhead recesses at the locks. The work is a preparation for next summer’s bigger project of replacing miter gates at Starved Rock, among other maintenance projects that will close six locks along the Illinois Waterway from July through October.

On the Upper Mississippi River, Locks 16 and 17 could close because of rising water by the weekend, depending on the forecast, according to Heinold. The river was forecast to crest at 17.3 feet at Lock 15 by October 5; flood stage is 15 feet.

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“We are suspending some dredging operations and may have to re-dredge areas we’ve already dredged this season,” Heinold told The Waterways Journal.