Dredging & Marine Construction

Corps Clears Sand From Winona Placement Site

The St. Paul Engineer District and contractor Beach Transport Inc., of North Branch, Minn., began moving dredged material from the Homer Placement Site, south of Winona, Minn., earlier this month.

Corps officials anticipate the contractor moving approximately 50,000 cubic yards of river sand from the Homer Placement Site to the Yeadke Quarry, located approximately 5 miles away along County Highway 15, by Christmas. The work will re-establish storage capacity that was exhausted due to the dredging operations this summer when Corps contractors removed nearly 56,000 cubic yards of river sand from the Mississippi River navigation channel.

“The trucking operations, while not ideal, provide the necessary time for us to work with city and county leaders on the long-term plan,” said Bob Edstrom, St. Paul District project manager. “We are trying to be a good neighbor, but our options are extremely limited at this point, and our congressional mandate to maintain the channel requires us to ensure we have storage capacity for the next time we dredge near the city.”

The Mississippi River navigation channel is vital to the region and nation’s economy. Producers save approximately $1 per bushel when shipping corn and soybeans via the river compared to alternative transportation modes. These savings add up to an estimated savings of nearly $430 million from Minneapolis to Lock and Dam 10, in Guttenberg, Iowa, according to the St. Paul District.

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Lock and Dam 6, located near Trempealeau, Wis., and just south of Winona, supported more than 2,100 lockages in 2020. These lockages provided the movement of more than 12.4 million tons of commodities. It would take nearly 500,000 trucks to move the same amount of material.

Edstrom said he looks forward to the continued cooperation with the St. Paul District partners at every level of government as they develop a long-term solution and work toward a new plan to ensure the navigation channel continues supporting the region’s transportation needs.