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Major work completed at Lock and Dam 2

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published May 10, 2024
A man on a crane.

Dewatering Lock and Dam 2, Hastings, Minnesota

There is major work happening at Lock and Dam 2 in Hastings, Minnesota. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, performs rehabilitative work on each of the district’s 13 locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River every 15-20 years. This year, it was time for Lock and Dam 2, in Hastings, Minnesota, to be dewatered for the first time since 2007. The Corps closed Lock 2 on Dec. 4, 2023, to complete the necessary work by a target date of March 5.

“This is a relatively short time period to get a lot of work done,” Chris Stai, chief of the maintenance and repair section, said. “Weather is always a concern in the winter, but we’ve had a great start with the warm weather here.”

The work is being performed completed in house by maintenance and repair staff as well as some seasonal staff that would have otherwise been laid off. There are about three dozen Corps employees working on the project that come from all over the St. Paul District.
“We’re fortunate that we can take advantage of the non-navigation season to do maintenance and not hinder navigation during the season with needed repairs and maintenance,” Stai said.

The $3.5 million project includes inspection and repair of the concrete walls, the miter gates, the bubbler system and renovation of the weepholes. A weephole is a hole in the lock chamber that helps relieve the water pressure on the concrete floor.

This is the first dewatering that has been done with the new miter gates, which were replaced at Lock 2 in 2021, said Stai. The team can ensure proper fitting of the gates with the lock chamber during the dewatering and make adjustments so the gates operate smoothly.

The St. Paul District maintains 13 locks and dams from Minneapolis to Guttenberg, Iowa, and manages 243.6 miles of the Mississippi River 9-foot navigation channel. Keeping this system open is vital to the nation’s economy. The commercial navigation industry transported 6 million tons of commodities through Lock 2 during the 2023 navigation season. The industries making these shipments within the St. Paul District saved nearly $400 million by using the inland waterways instead of overland shipping methods.