Accelerated Funding Measure Allows Continued Progress On Brandon Road Interbasin Project

The Rock Island Engineer District has received $1.5 million from the states of Illinois and Michigan to keep the Brandon Road Interbasin Project moving forward with engineering and design.

The Corps had previously anticipated running out of funding at the end of last month if additional funds were not received. While a project partnership agreement has not been signed to provide the local match of 10 percent from the project’s non-federal sponsor, the $1.5 million is designed as a stop-gap measure to prevent the project from ramping down.

The Brandon Road Interbasin Project, on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Ill., includes a complex, layered barrier to prevent the spread of invasive carp and other nuisance aquatic species from the river into the Great Lakes. It consists of an engineered channel with a flushing lock, an air bubble curtain and an acoustic deterrent, all designed to work in tandem with an electric barrier in place in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in Romeoville, Ill., southwest of Chicago. Brandon Road Lock and Dam has been identified previously as a key choke-point where Asian carp must be stopped.

“The Corps remains committed to this project of national significance in partnership with the states, and the accelerated funding will allow the team to maintain the momentum on the project design phase,” said Col. Jesse Curry, commander of the Rock Island District. “Completion of the first increment design will allow us to initiate construction of the project once a project partnership agreement is signed, allowing immediate access to the approximately $275 million in congressionally appropriated construction general funds.”

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As part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, $226 million in appropriations as well as a construction new start were designated for the project in January 2022. An additional $47.8 million in fiscal year 23 federal appropriations has also been targeted for the project. The federal funds will be available when the project partnership agreement is signed between the federal and non-federal partners. Illinois is the signatory for the non-federal partners, with Michigan also providing funding.

“I want to thank the state of Michigan for joining the state of Illinois in providing the support that’s needed to ensure this important endeavor continues moving forward,” said Natalie Phelps Finnie, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “Illinois is committed to the Brandon Road project, and thanks to these accelerated funds we can continue the ongoing project design effort.”

Dan Eichinger, acting director for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, spoke about the importance of the project.

“Preventing the spread of invasive carp into the Great Lakes is an important priority for Michigan,” he said. “Michigan’s boating, fishing and recreational stakeholders will be encouraged to see this project continuing forward to construction to protect the Great Lakes.”