Steenhoek: ongoing lock and dam repairs will help make supply chain more reliable

The US Army Corps of Engineers has resumed repairs on five of the eight locks and dams along the Illinois River.

Mike Steenhoek is executive director of the US Soy Transportation Coalition.

“This is an example of agriculture, the barge industry and other stakeholders in coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency in charge of it, really getting something meaningful done,” he says

He tells Brownfield the repairs began in early July and are scheduled to be completed by the end of October before the main harvest surge.

Steenhoek says it’s critical to invest in the maintenance and rehabilitation of locks and dams.

“At the end of the day it will make our supply chain more reliable,” he says.

Repairs are taking place on the LaGrange Lock and Dam, Peoria Lock and Dam, Starved Rock Lock and Dam, Marseilles Lock and Dam, and Dresden Island Lock and Dam.

The Illinois River is one of the key waterways for the agricultural supply chain. According to the USDA, in 2019 more than 6.5 metric tons of downbound soybeans and grains passed through the LaGrange Lock and Dam, the final Illinois River lock before the confluence with the Mississippi River.

Audio: Mike Steenhoek

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