Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Marseilles Canal and Lock

Most Army Corps of Engineer locks and dams have the lock adjacent to the dam. In the case of the Marseille Dam, there is a canal on the south side of the dam that extends 2.7 miles to the lock. The canal was built before the 9-foot navigation dam was built to take boats around the Grand Rapids at Marseilles.

Following the canal downstream from its entrance to the left of the dam in this upstream elevation of the dam.

Note the road bridge behind the dam reaches its maximum height over the canal. It is from the east side of this bridge that I took pictures upstream (towards the east) and...

...downstream (towards the west).

You then enter the Illini State Park south of the bridge on the east side and curve around under the bridge to follow a road through the state park to the lock. The bad news is that there was a gate. The good news was that it was open.

The bad news is this sign.

So why is the Illinois river restricted but the Ohio and Mississippi rivers are not restricted? Is it because there used to be a shipyard in Seneca to make the landing ships used in World War II invasions such as Sicily and D-Day? If so, then these signs should have been torn down when the shipyard was torn down.

The lock did not have a water depth gauge painted on its side. So I'm going to have to guess that the drop was about 12 feet. This is half of its normal drop because three of the dam's gates were open and the river level was high.

Too bad I could not take a picture of the lock so that I could later compare the June 27, 2014, water level to a normal water level. I still cannot figure out what defense secrets I could get from the visitor center that someone renting a boat and using the locks could not get. At the Peoria Dam last Fall, the gate wasn't open. I have sent email to with the above picture asking how I can get authorized by the commander.

Zig Markowski posted, cropped
Upstream pics of the work on the Marseilles locks on 7/23. 

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