The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will close its locks and dams to navigation, regardless of weather, December 7, for winter maintenance work.
The St. Paul District operates and maintains 13 locks and dams, beginning at Upper St. Anthony Falls in the Twin Cities and ending at Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa. Each dam represents a critical step in the “stairway of water” that makes navigation possible between Minneapolis and St. Louis.
Lock and Dam 3, located north of Red Wing, Minn., will be closed until March 29, weather and river conditions permitting, to begin a $70 million renovation project at this site. This project will include extending the lock’s upper guidewall 800 feet and modifying the channel to reduce the river outdraft forces that tend to pull barge tows towards the gated dam portion of the facility, creating a safety problem. The upper and lower embankments that maintain the river pool elevation will also be rehabilitated.
Lock and Dam 5, located in Minnesota City, Minn., will be closed until March 15, weather and river conditions permitting, which will allow the Corps to dewater and perform major maintenance on this lock during the winter. This rehabilitative work is scheduled every 20 years on each St. Paul District lock and dam. Lock and Dam 5 was last dewatered in 1990.
Lock and Dam 6, located near Trempealeau, Wis., and Lock and Dam 7, located near LaCrescent, Minn., will be closed until March 9, weather and river conditions permitting, to install bulkhead slots.
Local traffic wishing to lock through locks and dams not undergoing repair work may make advance arrangements with individual lockmasters.
The average end date of the navigation season in St. Paul is November 30. Warm weather this past fall has allowed the Corps to keep its locks and dams open longer than usual.