Lock and Dam No. 11 reopens after repairs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lock and Dam No. 11 reopens after repairs

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A decades old lock and dam is back open, after a crack in the system shuts it down. 

Crews from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked to repair the Lock and Dam No. 11 in Dubuque.

"It was deemed that the lock would be unsafe to operate so we immediately shut the lock down for navigation until we could execute some type of a repair," said Brad Houzenga, maintenance engineer. 

During a routine check on Tuesday, they discovered the crack. It forced them to close the lock and dam in the Mississippi River.

"There was just a concern that the crack could propagate and that we might have a failure of some type."

The closure meant the river was closed to barge traffic. "A lot of that barge is sitting under water, and in order to have a deep enough river, you gotta have a lock and dam system," Houzenga said. 

It opened in the late 1930s. Crews said the aging system possibly played a role in the damage.

Engineers quickly made some emergency repairs to get things moving again. "Our goal is to get the river back open again, but we also need to make sure the lock is safe to operate."

They were able to reopen the river Wednesday around noon.

In a couple of weeks, crews will be installing new gates to replace the current ones, for a separate project.

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