The mv. Thomas E. Erickson was the “last boat out” for the 2023 Upper Mississippi navigation season, transiting Lock and Dam 10 near Guttenberg, Iowa, on December 3. (Photo courtesy of St. Paul Engineer District)

Thomas E. Erickson Closes Upper Miss Navigation Season

The St. Paul Engineer District saw the last tow of the 2023 navigation season depart as the mv. Thomas E. Erickson transited through Lock and Dam 10, near Guttenberg, Iowa, on December 3 with a tow of 15 barges.

The 2023 season began March 12, when the mv. Phillip M. Pfeffer broke its way through the ice of Lake Pepin to travel to St. Paul, Minn.

The twin-screw Thomas E. Erickson was built in 1977 by St. Louis Ship and measures 138 feet long by 44 feet wide. Powered with twin GM diesels totaling 6,140 hp., it was originally named the James E. Wright. It was operated by Indiana Michigan Power Company of Lakin, W.Va., until 1994, when it was sold to Marquette Transportation Company LLC.

This winter, St. Paul District staff will be busy with maintenance projects at Lock and Dam 2, near Hastings, Minn.; Lock and Dam 3, near Welch, Minn.; Lock and Dam 4, near Alma, Wis.; and Lock and Dam 7, near La Crescent, Minn. The work is scheduled for completion in March 2024, and it will help ensure the navigation channel continues to support the regional economy for the movement of bulk commodities such as corn, soybeans, cement and fertilizer.

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