US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District Website Website

Level of Service Reduction at the Twin Cities Locks and Dams

Updated September 2016
Published Feb. 27, 2015
A downbound tow locks through Lock and Dam 1

A downbound tow locks through Lock and Dam 1

Constrained funding has led to reduced operations and maintenance funding within the Corps Inland Marine Transportation System (IMTS). When coupled with deteriorating infrastructure and increasing costs of operation, it became clear that the level of service the Corps has been providing at some locks and dams is not sustainable.

The three locks and dams in the Twin Cities: Upper St. Anthony Falls (USAF), Lower St. Anthony Falls (LSAF), and Lock and Dam 1 (LD1), are part of the Corps’ IMTS consisting of 12,000 miles of inland waterways and more than 200 locks and dams.

The IMTS Board of Directors approved guidance in 2012 that established six levels of operational service for all IMTS locks. The criteria were based on the number of commercial and recreational lockages that passed through the locks on an annual basis.

At the start of the 2015 navigation season these 3 locks were open 19 hours per day/7 days per week. As required by the Water Resources Reform and Development Act 2014, USAF lock was closed to navigation on 10 June 2015. Upon closure of the USAF lock, LSAF and LD1 transitioned to one 10-hour shift per day for the remainder of 2015 navigation season.

The following summarizes the 2015 data for these locks and dams:

Commercial Recreational
Lockages  Lockages
USAF   206    252
LSAF   899    405
LD1   307   1008

The closing of USAF lock to navigation will likely eliminate commercial tonnage from being shipped through any of the Twin Cities locks into the future.

With USAF lock closed, the level of service for the 2016 navigation season at LSAF and LD1 remains at IMTS service level 3 (10 hours/day). We are open to navigation from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. The criteria to operate as an IMTS service level 3 lock notes annual statistics should be between 100 and 500 commercial lockages or more than 1,000 recreational lockages.

We will review our lockage statistics annually and adjust our level of service at LSAF and LD1 to meet IMTS guidance as necessary.

Prior to the USAF lock closure, the average annual tonnage shipped through the Twin Cities locks from 2010 to 2014 was 755,437 tons.

The FY15 operational cost for these three locks and dams was $1.97 million.