The Illinois River stretches 327 miles, from Chicago down to Grafton, Illinois, where it connects to the Mississippi. It’s a major part of the Great Loop; in fact, it’s the only way to get from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. But there are eight aging dams and locks on the river, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has scheduled closings this summer and fall for long-overdue maintenance. Some of the closings, when no vessels will be able to transit, start on July 1 and run as long as Oct. 29. Here’s the official schedule from the Army Corps:
Consolidated Lock Closures
The Illinois Waterway, which provides a navigable connection between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, includes eight lock and dam sites which are long overdue for significant repairs. In order to facilitate repairs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District developed a consolidated repair schedule, which included a short closure to locks in 2019 followed by two extended closures in 2020 and 2023. The closures are scheduled to take place simultaneously to lessen impact to commercial navigation as much as possible.
All lock and dam facilities on the Illinois Waterway have a single lock chamber for passing vessels. During the scheduled closures, no vessels will be able to pass through the affected locks. An exception to this restriction could occur at the LaGrange and Peoria locks if water levels become high enough that the wicket portions of the dams could be lowered for open-pass. This would allow vessels to pass around the dam without using the lock. There is no guarantee river levels will be high during the closures. Navigation on the rest of the river, between the locks, will not be impacted by the closures. Recreational and commercial vessels will be able to navigate within the pools without restriction.
**NOTICE** The Rock Island District continues to prepare for the upcoming 2020 lock closures and the schedule remains on track. Should changes to the schedule be needed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be posted on this website as soon as they are available.
LaGrange Lock and Dam – Major Rehabilitation & Lock Machinery Replacement
- Full closure scheduled July 1-Sept. 30
Peoria Lock and Dam – Dewatering for Maintenance and Inspection
- Full closure scheduled July 6 – Sept. 30
Starved Rock Lock and Dam – Upper & Lower Miter Gate Installation
- Full closure scheduled July 1-Oct. 29
Marseilles Lock and Dam – Upper Miter Gate Installation
- Full closure scheduled July 6-Oct. 29
Dresden Island Lock and Dam – Upper Bulkhead Recess Installation
- Daytime closures are scheduled from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. July 1-2 (Updated June 17)
- Partial closure scheduled July 6-Oct. 3 and Oct. 25-28
- Locks operational from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. with a 70-ft width restriction and no ability to pull unpowered barges.
- Full closure scheduled Oct. 4-24. Read more: