1. VIEW OF LOCKS, LOOKING NORTHEAST Photocopy of photograph, ca. 1980, courtesy of U.S. Engineer Office, St. Louis, Missouri. Original print is on file at Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 27 in Granite City, Illinois. - Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Channel Project, Lock & Dam 27, Granite City, Madison County, IL Photos from Survey HAER IL-33
The locks are in the 8.4 mile Chain of Rocks Canal that helps bypass a 17-mile long rapids, and they provide an average lift of 15'. The lift can be as high as 20'. The upstream gates are lift gates whereas the downstream gates are the usual miter gates. The main chamber is 1,200' long and the auxiliary chamber is 600'. The dam is a "non-movable, low water" dam to maintain the low pool for L&D #26. This 1953 canal and locks project was the last improvement done to implement a 9' navigation channel on the Upper Mississippi River. As the southernmost L&D on the Mississippi River, it has the Missouri River traffic, as well as the Mississippi and Illinois River traffic, so it has the most traffic. [USACE, USACE-facts] The USACE also dug out a one mile long fleeting area just upstream of the locks. This created America's Central Port. [AmericasCentralPort] There is no visitors center.
In the middle background is a water intake and on the right we see a glimpse of the Chain of Rocks Bridge. [DeBruler]
2. OVERALL VIEW OF LOW-WATER DAM, LOOKING UPSTREAM. CHAIN OF ROCKS BRIDGE AND ST. LOUIS WATER DEPARTMENT INTAKE IN BACKGROUND, LOOKING NORTHWEST
One of the four valves that controls the filling and emptying of a chamber.
65. VIEW OF TAINTER VALVE FOR MONOLITH NUMBER 5-E WELDED OUTSIDE CULVERT. Photograph No. 9311. March 28, 1950
[One of several photos of the miter gates being replaced.]
[Massman also improved the protection cell.]
Because this is the busiest L&D on the waterway, I record the activity. Note that it peaked around the turn of the millennia.
Since fossil fuels are dying...
|Chapter 12 (p32 has 2008 waterway funding figures)|
...building more locks does seem to be rather silly. Fixing what we have would be a better priority. The USACE has already spent $50m to develop a plan to add seven new 1,200' locks and extend five existing 600' locks. The claim that we need more lock capacity when the tonnage has been going down is another ding in the USACE's creditability. They should have used that money to repair what we have. Supposedly the expansion would cost just $2 billion. But the USACE paid more than that just to build the Olmsted Dam. By their own estimate, the economic return on the investment would be only 80 cents per dollar. And the cost overruns that seem to be inevitable with the USACE would make that investment only worse. This is the 21st Century so non-structural solutions to reduce delays such as scheduling the locks should be pursued. "The barge industry asserts that shipping by barge is significantly more fuel efficient than rail transportation and therefore less polluting. More complete analysis of transportation fuel efficiency demonstrates that this claim is incorrect because it ignores the use of highly efficient rail systems and does not take into consideration that barges travel more miles following the course of the river." The report recommends that the funds for lock expansions be dropped but the funds for river restoration in the plan such as buying 35,000 acres from willing landowners actually be funded. The date of this report was 2010. The plan to expand the locks may have been dropped because the Illinois Waterway was closed during the summer of 2020 for extensive repairs to multiple locks. The report was not only sponsored by tree and fish hugging organizations, but also by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
[The 1,200' locks would replace the existing 600' locks.]
[I wish I knew my dams well enough that I could identify the location of this flood and move the photo to the correct set of notes.]