LaGrange lock undergoing major reconstruction

Subhead

Commercial traffic halted as 5 out of 8 locks on the Illinois River shut down

  • Tight quarters— Heavy equipment operators have to keep their heads on swivels to operate safely and avoid other heavy machines operating in the tight space of the lock chamber at the LaGrange Lock & Dam. (Photo by Brian DeLoche.)
    Tight quarters— Heavy equipment operators have to keep their heads on swivels to operate safely and avoid other heavy machines operating in the tight space of the lock chamber at the LaGrange Lock & Dam. (Photo by Brian DeLoche.)
  • The waters of the Illinois River flow over the wicket dam at the LaGrange Lock and Dam complex south of Beardstown. (Photo by Brian DeLoche.)
    The waters of the Illinois River flow over the wicket dam at the LaGrange Lock and Dam complex south of Beardstown. (Photo by Brian DeLoche.)
  • Fuel delivery — a crane lowers a large diesel fuel tank into the lock chamber to keep the machinery running. (Photo by Brian DeLoche)
    Fuel delivery — a crane lowers a large diesel fuel tank into the lock chamber to keep the machinery running. (Photo by Brian DeLoche)
  • Keeping the dust down — Construction workers use large boom-like sprayers to limit concrete dust generated by the grinders working on the lock chamber’s side walls. (Photo by Brian DeLoche)
    Keeping the dust down — Construction workers use large boom-like sprayers to limit concrete dust generated by the grinders working on the lock chamber’s side walls. (Photo by Brian DeLoche)
  • Just tryin’ to catch a dam fish — An unidentified fisherman reels in a small catch as he works along the wicket dam at the LaGrange Lock and Dam south of Beardstown. (Photo by Brian DeLoche)
    Just tryin’ to catch a dam fish — An unidentified fisherman reels in a small catch as he works along the wicket dam at the LaGrange Lock and Dam south of Beardstown. (Photo by Brian DeLoche)
It took nearly three years to build and when it was completed, it was expected to last 50 years. Now 80 years later, the LaGrange lock and dam is in the midst of a major reconstruction and refitting project with an estimated price tag of $117 million. LaGrange is one of eight locks and dams along the Illinois River waterway and five are currently shut down for renovations. That means the Illinois…

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