Damaged lock forces closure of Mississippi River in Illinois


(DUBUQUE, Ill.) — Commercial traffic on the Mississippi River in the Dubuque area will be shut down for days after officials discovered damage at Lock and Dam No. 11 on Tuesday morning, the Telegraph Herald reported.

Cracks were discovered at a miter gate connection point during a routine inspection, according to Aaron Dunlop, operations manager for the Mississippi River Project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“It’s probably going to be a couple days for temporary repairs to be made,” he said. “We’ll continue to look at long-term repair procedures.”

The miter gate, one of the mechanisms that control the water level in the lock, has two main connection points to the wall. Inspectors preparing for an upcoming miter gate change found one of the connection points to be cracked.

With the lock closed, nonlocal river traffic will be impossible, Dunlop said. Navigation alerts were posted to alert river traffic to the closure.

The closure comes less than two weeks after the river fully opened to navigation for the season.

“What this means north of us is really bad things because the season is running so late,” said Joe Bitter, general manager of IEI Barge Services, a transload terminal located in East Dubuque, Ill., that is owned by Alliant Energy Transportation.

Lock and Dam No. 11 in Dubuque was completed in 1937 at a cost of about $7.4 million. It was scheduled to receive new miter gates in late April or early May at a cost of about $3.1 million.

In February, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated that backlogged maintenance costs for locks and dams on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers total more than $1 billion.

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By Professional Mariner Staff