The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a groundbreaking ceremony today marking the beginning of repairs to a lock and dam on the Upper Mississippi River that is crucial to the shipment of corn and other commodities.
Lock and Dam 25, which is almost 50 miles North of St. Louis, has not been extensively repaired since it was constructed in the early part of the 20th century, but thanks to decades of advocacy, funding for the project was included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act when it passed in 2021. Now, thanks to that federal funding, updates to the structure have begun.
The Illinois Corn Growers Association, which has been at the forefront of advocating for updates to Lock and Dam 25, praised the development.
“The Illinois Corn Growers Association and the diverse partners brought together by Waterways Council Inc. have worked tirelessly to update our inland waterways infrastructure for nearly three decades,” said ICGA President Matt Rush. “Our hope is this will be the beginning of a waterfall of infrastructure work on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.”
Lock and Dam 25 is crucially important to corn growers as 60 percent of America’s corn and soybean exports are transported on the Mississippi River. The river is also important in shipping products to key markets in the U.S. and abroad. When barges are delayed because of problems with aging locks and dams, farmers are economically affected.