The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District released its Fiscal Year 2021 Work Plan for the Army Civil Works program, Jan. 19.
The work plan will allow the Pittsburgh District to initiate construction activities on the Upper Ohio Navigation project. The project will receive Construction appropriations of $22 million in Fiscal Year 2021.
“Appropriate funding of the Upper Ohio projects will ensure the region is prepared for increases in industry, when and if it happens, while maintaining and improving our vital water resource infrastructure,” said Col. Andrew “Coby” Short, commander, Pittsburgh District.
This project was authorized for Construction in 2016 and began receiving funding in 2017 to perform preconstruction engineering and design activities. Funding provided under this Construction appropriation will allow more in-depth design analysis, acquisition of real estate, and the ability to solicit for and award the first, moderately sized construction contract at the Montgomery Locks, near Monaca, Pennsylvania.
“If the district receives appropriate funding in subsequent fiscal years, it could award a major lock construction contract for a new and larger river chamber lock at Montgomery Locks and Dam in the 2023 timeframe,” said Stephen Fritz, mega-projects program manager, Pittsburgh District.
The Upper Ohio Navigation project will provide safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable navigation on the Upper Ohio River, a significant portion of the nation’s extensive inland waterways navigation system. The project includes substantial recapitalization at the Emsworth, Dashields, and Montgomery locks and dams, the oldest and smallest navigation facilities on the Ohio River.
“Due to condition and age, these facilities have an increased likelihood of unscheduled closures and potential failures that could shut down the river to navigation, causing significant economic impacts to the region,” said Fritz. “The project addresses reliability concerns by replacing the aging and deteriorated 56-foot wide by 360-foot long, auxiliary chamber at each of these locks and dams with new 110-foot wide by 600-foot long primary chambers.”
The inland navigation system is a crucial contributor to national and regional economic development. Waterborne transportation is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly means for moving bulk commodities, such as grain, coal, and petroleum products.
Over the next 50 years, the Upper Ohio River locks are estimated to facilitate the transport of 15 to 20 million tons of commodities annually, providing average annual benefits of nearly $150 million to the nation. Regionally, construction is expected to support more than 21,000 full-time jobs, and transportation of commodities through Emsworth, Dashields, and Montgomery is expected to support 3,800 full-time jobs annually.
Pittsburgh District’s 26,000 square miles include portions of western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, eastern Ohio, western Maryland and southwestern New York. Our jurisdiction includes more than 328 miles of navigable waterways, 23 navigation locks and dams, 16 multi-purpose reservoirs, 42 local flood protection projects and other projects to protect and enhance the nation’s water resources, infrastructure, and environment.
The district’s additional missions include water supply, emergency response, and regulation of the Clean Water Act. The Corps often partners with local communities to improve water supply, sanitary sewer, and stormwater infrastructure. During disasters, the district manages the nation’s emergency power contract which provides temporary power to downed critical infrastructure. District personnel deploy overseas to help build, manage, and administer water resource infrastructure projects.
FOLLOW the Pittsburgh District: Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
Know.Take.Wear. Know the waterways. Take a safety course. Wear your life jacket.