U.S. Army Corps of Engineers meets with Congresswoman Hinson to talk navigation, flooding management projects

Lock and Dam 11 in Dubuque. (Allison Wong, KCRG-TV9)
Lock and Dam 11 in Dubuque. (Allison Wong, KCRG-TV9)(KCRG)
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 10:03 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - A group with the US Army Corps of Engineers updated river projects in a meeting Thursday with Congresswoman Ashley Hinson at Lock and Dam 11 in Dubuque.

The meeting’s purpose was to discuss navigation projects for the Mississippi River and flood risk management missions across eastern Iowa.

Colonel Steve Sattinger, Commander District Engineer of the Rock Island district of the Army Corps of Engineers, brought to the table an ongoing project to build a floodwall in the east side of Cedar Rapids. The project came up after the 2008 flood, was authorized in a water resource development act bill, and was funded in the 2018 supplemental program.

“What I informed the Congresswoman is that the project is on track,” he said. “While it is a little bit delayed from where we thought at the beginning, it is moving forward and I just wanted to let her know that, if the city does need anything, they will let them know.” He mentioned the project is still in the design phase with hopes of moving into construction soon.

They also discussed the Navigation Ecosystems Sustainability program. Sattinger said the program would improve the navigation on the upper Mississippi River by building seven new 1,200-foot locks downstream to Keokuk, which would provide system benefits for anyone who transports goods on the river.

“By building a new 1,200-foot lock, it really improves the efficiency, the redundancy, and the reliability of the navigation system,” he explained. “It has an ecosystem side, so it allows us to make progress; we are talking billions of dollars worth of ecosystem improvements on the upper Mississippi River and the Illinois River.”

The program has been authorized for 14 years now, but it has not gone into construction. Sattinger said he brought it up to Hinson to figure out what is required to get the program under construction.

“We have calculated it is likely around 10,000 construction jobs over the lifetime of the program, which is about 20 years of construction,” he mentioned.

Congresswoman Hinson said she plans to advocate for the projects in Congress.

“As someone who is on the Appropriations Committee, and we are talking about how important infrastructure investment really is, it gives me the insight I need to be able to go in and advocate for this,” she said. “I can tell the story of how much traffic is coming through this system, how vital it is to our economy, how vital it is to remaining competitive globally as well.”

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