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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Programs & Project Management
180 5th St. E., Suite 700
St. Paul MN 55101

(651) 290-5755.


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Related Fact Sheet Information Paper

Posted 9/12/2016

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Updated September 2018



Locks and Dams 3 through 10 have auxiliary chambers. Each auxiliary chamber has only a single set of miter gates that could pass shallow draft navigation traffic if the lock chamber was out of operation and the upstream and downstream pools were equalized. Thus, the auxiliary chamber’s miter gates are considered emergency gates.

At each site, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers only installed one set of miter gates. An auxiliary lock chamber was never authorized by Congress, which would have included a second set of miter gates. Since installation, the auxiliary emergency gates have never been used, and the gate operating machinery was never installed.

The Corps performs periodic inspections of all of its sites. Recent periodic inspection reports for these sites have raised concerns about the condition of the auxiliary miter gates because they constitute a non-redundant portion of the damming surface that cannot be properly inspected and maintained. Deterioration and failure of the auxiliary miter gates could result in a loss of pool and disrupt navigation on the Upper Mississippi River.

At each site, the Corps plans to install a double-walled sheet pile structure upstream of the auxiliary gates. The auxiliary gates will remain in place. The sheet pile structure will act as a redundant damming service and a walkway. If removed, the structure would not interfere with the function of the auxiliary gates.



The sheet pile installation at Lock and Dam 7, located in La Crosse, Wisconsin, was completed in summer 2018. Construction contracts for Locks and Dams 5 and 5A is expected to be awarded in fall 2018. The Corps will complete design for Locks and Dams 9 and 10 in fiscal year 2019 and contract construction based on availability of funding. A contract for design for Locks and Dams 3, 4, 6 and 8 will be awarded in fall 2018.


The Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Channel Navigation Project was authorized as part of the River and Harbor Act approved July 3, 1930.


Design and construction are completed with 100 percent federal funds. In fiscal year 2018, construction at 5 and 5A is estimated at $3.75 million per site, and design at 3, 4, 6 and 8 is estimated at $700,000.

auxiliary locks Mississippi River locks navigation sheetpile closure St. Paul District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers