242 unscheduled closures at Lock and Dam 52 since 2012

BROOKPORT, IL – Lock and Dam 52 has had 242 unscheduled closures since 2012, according to new documents Local 6 has obtained through record requests.

Every closure means more delays in delivering products like grain and coal. Those delays can affect supply and prices on things you buy.

Lock and Dam 52 Deputy Chief of Operations Waylon Humphrey told me there can be 15 to 25 vessels waiting to lock through at any time. They can move most of those through in one day.

Right now, there are 30 to 50 vessels waiting in line.

On average, unscheduled closures last a few hours to a day.  The data shows the longest unscheduled closure since 2012 was 18 days long. Just this year, Dam 52 closed for 8 days.

Humphrey said this during the closure in September: “It could close again anytime. This is an aging facility. It’s beyond its design life. We are experiencing multiple modes of failure right now and the ultimate fix to this problem is getting Olmsted Lock and Dam operational, which is scheduled for October next year.”

On Tuesday, Oct. 31, he said the Army Corps of Engineers is out making more improvements to wickets to try to prevent any more closures.

Lock and Dam 52 and 53 will be demolished once Olmsted Locks and Dam is operating. All workers from 52 and 53 will have jobs at Olmsted, according to Humphrey.

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