Corps of Engineers says Lock and Dam 52 demolition will be quiet, with minimal blasting

BROOKPORT, IL – Lock and Dam 52’s time on the Ohio River is coming to and end. After more than 90 years of service, the dam will soon be torn down. Crews will begin blasting for the demolition in late July.

Thursday, people in Brookport, Illinois, attended a meeting to learn how the demolition will be performed.

“I look at it as a chapter in our history,” says Charles Williams.

Williams has lived in Metropolis since 1942. He says he has fond memories watching Lock and Dam 52 operate.

“I enjoyed seeing it. My dad would explain it to me. I had three sisters, and he brought the family down, my mother too,” says Williams.

Now Williams is interested in it for how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will dismantle the massive structure.

“Most of them won’t even know it’s going on,” says Army Corps of Engineers representative Bill Gilmore.

Gilmore says blasting will be very minimal, and most people won’t even be able to hear it.

“We will basically break the concrete in place. It hopefully won’t be flying anywhere. We will be cracking it up into small chunks and pieces and excavate it out with heavy equipment,” says Gilmore.

Williams says while it’s sad to see the dam go, but he knows it’s served it’s purpose.

“It sounds like it won’t be an exciting show. It’ll just quietly come about,” says Williams.

River levels will play a major factor in when the Corps can start on the demolition. Right now, river levels are too high, but the Corps says they should drop to where they can start by the end of July. They hope to have the project complete by the end of 2020. When blasting starts, it will happen from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. River traffic will be closed during blasting.

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