US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District

Projects

Dam Bridge & Gate Painting – Lower St. Anthony Falls through Lock and Dam 10

Published Feb. 26, 2015
Updated: Sept. 20, 2019
Location/Description

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District operates and maintains 13 locks and dams from Upper St. Anthony Falls in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa. Each lock and dam is a critical step in the "stairway of water" that makes navigation possible between Minneapolis and St. Louis, Missouri. The Corps constructed Locks and Dams 2 through 10 in the 1930s, and the aging sites include a dam bridge and varying numbers of dam gates. The gates are critical components because they control pool elevation for navigation, flood control and environmental purposes.

Background

Typically, the gates are partially submerged in flowing water and subjected to intense abrasion from sediment and debris. This continuous abrasion degrades the paint systems, contributing to significant corrosion and consequently an escalating backlog of repairs.

The original hazardous lead-based paint remains on five bridges, which have not been painted since their original construction in the 1930s.

Protecting the Nation’s investment of inland waterways infrastructure through preventive maintenance is prudent and cost effective, particularly when replacement costs are considered.

  • Average cost to paint and repair corroded gates is estimated at $14 million per site.
  • Average cost to replace gates is $100 million per site.

The life expectancy of modern paint systems ranges from 15 to 25 years.

Site

Location

Length (ft)

Last Painted

LSAF

Minneapolis

168

1985

2

Hastings

570

1987

3

Red Wing

320

1988

4

Alma

990

2002

5

Minneiska

1,200

1978

5A

Winona

575

1982

6

Trempealeau

750

2005

7

Dresbach

715

1995

8

Genoa

680

1991

9

Lynxville

610

1992

10

Guttenberg

560

1980

 

Status

The St. Paul District has been unable to award a painting contract for many years because of funding constraints. The Corps has prepared Lock and Dam 5 plans and specifications.