On October 13, 2020, the $117 million LaGrange Lock and Dam Rehabilitation project, between Jacksonville and Beardstown, Illinois, reached a major milestone: opening to Illinois River traffic after being closed for 15 weeks.

Originally scheduled for completion on September 30, 2020, pre-closure tasks were delayed because of high water through the month of June which meant Shimmick Construction Company, Inc., the lead contractor, needed to compress work activities, originally scheduled for outside the closure, into a reduced, single closure window.  

“The LaGrange Major Rehab/Major Maintenance is the single largest construction contract ever executed by the Rock Island District,” said Colonel Steven Sattinger with the United States Army Corps of Engineers. “In the last 20 years, only one other Rock Island project exceeded the magnitude of the LaGrange project, but that project was split into multiple contracts and took nearly 10 years to execute, unlike LaGrange, which was substantially completed in a single construction season.”

From July 1 to October 13, the construction team dewatered the lock, removed the lock face, installed new pre-cast panels, and rebuilt the lock face with embedded armor plates for better durability.
Among many other activities, Shimmick installed new miter gate anchorage points with new operating machinery as well as new programmable control systems for opening and closing the miter gates with the brand-new technology that has not been used in the United States for locks before.

With the new lock face and complex control system, Shimmick also constructed an elevated concrete HPU building on the intermediate wall so the hydraulic systems could be split and operated separately rather than run under the lock which saves maintenance issues. The rehabilitated lock looks and operates like a brand-new lock, rather than built in 1936.

The project will be completed in September 2021.