Mississippi River Locks and Dams 3–10 Sheet Pile Installation at Auxiliary Locks

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published Sept. 12, 2016
Updated: April 15, 2024

Lock and Dam 3 through 10 have auxiliary chambers. Each auxiliary chamber has only a single set of miter gates, so the auxiliary locks are not operational. At each site, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers installed only one set of miter gates. An auxiliary lock chamber was never authorized by Congress, which would have included a second set of miter gates. There are some scenarios where the auxillary locks could be activated, but this is improbable since miter gates are not designed to be moved with unbalanced water levels. Since installation, the auxiliary lock miter gates have never been used, and the gate operating machinery was never installed.

Locks and Dams 4, 5, 5A, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

The Corps performs periodic inspections of all 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 all sites except 3 and 9, the Corps design solution is a double-walled sheet pile structure upstream of the auxiliary gates. The sheet pile structure will act as a redundant damming service and a walkway; they can also be removed if required if future needs change. 

Design for Lock and Dam 5 and 5A were completed in 2018, and construction was completed in 2020. In 2019, the Corps completed designs related to Auxiliary Lock Closures at Lock and Dam 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10. In April 2022, the Corps awarded a construction contract for sheet pile installation at Lock and Dam 6 and 10 and advertised for construction at Lock and Dam 4 and 8 in July 2022. Project work at Lock at Dam 6 and 10 was completed in August 2023. Project work at Lock and Dam 4 and 8 is ongoing, with completion scheduled by November 2024. Lock and Dam 3 and 9 Bulkhead Slot Installation was advertised for construction in August 2023, with contract award in February 2024. Work is scheduled for completion by August 2025.

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

Design and construction of the sheet pile at the auxiliary locks are completed with 100% federal funds. In fiscal year 2018, construction contracts at Locks and Dams 5 and 5A were awarded for $2,272,000 and $2,950,000, respectively. In April 2022, Locks and Dams 6 and 10 were awarded for $6,869,867. In September 2022, Locks and Dams 4 and 8 were awarded for $9,041,572. Lock and Dams 3 and 9 were awarded for $4,598,865.