Rep. Davis Applauds $17.6M in Recovery Dollars To Repair Chicago Lock


April 28, 2009
Rep. Davis Applauds $17.6M in Recovery Dollars To Repair Chicago Lock

Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL07) today applauded the announcement of$17.6M in funding to rebuild the Chicago River Lock.  Davis stated,"This has been a priority of my earmark requests for years.  The Lockis decades beyond its life expectancy and the replacement of the Lockis a priority for the safety and development of Chicago.  The Lock isone of the busiest in the nation and short term fixes to the structurehave been expensive.  The authorization of these funds will createsignificant economic activity --  jobs, in the short term as well asaddressing one of our most urgent long term infrastructure needs.  Theproject is being paid for with American Recovery and Reinvestment Actfunding"


Chicago is home to many remarkable engineering structures but certainlyone of them is the Chicago Lock which reverses the flow of the ChicagoRiver.  The current Lock was constructed in 1938 by the MetropolitanWater Reclamation District.  In 1984 responsibility for the Lock wastransferred to the Corps of Engineers.

The Lock serves several functions. For the millions who depend on LakeMichigan for drinking water, it protects the water supply.  When theLock leaks, as it does now, polluted water backs up into LakeMichigan.  It is a navigation structure which allow ships to enter andexit to Lake Michigan.  It is also a flood control structure used when,in the case of a major flood event, the Water Reclamation Districtdirects of Corps to open the gates and allow flood waters to flow intothe Lake.

Although the probability of a gate failure is very low the consequencesof such a failure would result in the flooding of parts of downtownChicago with estimated damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars.