Mon River Project to Get Boost, According to Army Corps of
4 March 2014
By Bobby Kerlik, Staff Reporter
A critical Monongahela River project that is 10 years behind
schedule got a $74.7 million bump in funding on Tuesday that
planners say will help speed the completion.
The Army Corps of Engineers announced the funds for the Lower
Monongahela River project, which supporters say is critical for
“We've been actively working on this issue. This is a very
positive development. There's just horrendous deterioration of
these structures and they're at risk of failure,” said Peter
Stephaich, chairman and CEO of Campbell Transportation Co. in
Houston, Washington County. “If they're going to keep that river
open, they need to replace them.”
The corps had expected to finish the Lower Monongahela River
project within 10 years when work began in 1994 on what was then a
$750 million project to remove the locks and dam in Elizabeth,
replace a dam in Braddock and build locks in Charleroi. Funding
shortfalls and delays postponed the projected completion date to
at least 2025.
The Braddock dam replacement has been completed and about $1
billion more is needed to finish the project, according to the
corps. Corps data show the project has received $108.5 million
over the past five years.
The funding announced on Tuesday will pay for replacement of a
piece of the lock at Charleroi, said Jeanine Hoey, chief of
programs and project management for the corps' Pittsburgh
“It's the smallest piece we could break off that would further
construction,” Hoey said. “It will cut three years off the total
duration than if we had to wait for Olmsted to get completed.”
The Lower Mon project is behind a higher priority, $3 billion
project to build a dam and locks along the Ohio River near
Olmsted, Ill. A one-time change in the funding calculation this
year freed up money for the Lower Mon project.
Jim McCarville, executive director of the Port of Pittsburgh
Commission, said while much more money is needed, every dollar is
“This is funding we haven't seen in five years,” McCarville said.
“The lock and dam at Elizabeth are over 100 years old. These are
very, very old facilities desperately in need of modernization.”
Barges carried 54.7 million tons of cargo through Monongahela
River locks in 2012, up 11 percent from 2011, corps data show.
Many locks and dams in the Pittsburgh area were built in the 1930s
or earlier, including the Elizabeth dam, which was built in 1907.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be
reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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