Work resumed on U.S. Lock and Dam No. 3Crews recently resumed work at U.S. Lock and Dam No. 3 near Red Wing after high water delayed the project during the summer.
Crews recently resumed work at U.S. Lock and Dam No. 3 near Red Wing after high water delayed the project during the summer.
“High water – that’s kind of been our mantra for the past few months,” said Tom Novak, project manager with the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
The more than $70 million project — which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — aims to improve safety at the lock and dam. The location by a natural bend in the river draws water toward the dam and can pull boats as well, Novak said.
There have been 11 accidents since 1968 at the lock and dam, officials said, though none were major.
“We’re not eliminating the risk, but we’re minimizing it,” Novak said of the project’s goals.
Crews also are modifying the channel, adding sand and rock in spots in an attempt to push the current closer to the dam and make the water shallower and calmer along the guide wall.
Part of the project involved an extension of the guide wall further into the river so boats can better navigate the area.
“So we’re kind of reaching out to them,” Novak said. The wall was finished in the spring.
Other safety measures involved in the project include strengthening embankments and measures to cut down on erosion.
High water had put a damper on construction. In autumn 2010, the Mississippi River’s water levels stayed high longer than anticipated, Novak said. And this spring, along with typical flooding, rains prolonged the problem.
“(The water) would come down and we’d be almost ready to go, and then there would be a rain event and it would go up again,” Novak said. “But that’s the nature of rivers.”
Now, construction is moving along smoothly, despite the delay.
“Everything is as it should be, except later than it should have been,” Novak said.
The contract was slated to the fall of 2011, but now, depending on water levels, the project could run up to the winter of 2012-13, Novak said.
The Corps will be talking with those coming through the lock area to see if there is a noticeable difference after adding the guide wall and modifying the current.