Dear Illinois Waterway Stakeholders and Partners,
As we continue to focus on Illinois Waterway priorities, I wanted to provide this update on status of the 2023 Illinois Waterway Consolidated Closures. Supply chain issues and recent substantial increases in material costs are introducing significant challenges. As part of a plan to mitigate those issues, we separated several of the long lead time components from the construction contracts and awarded three supply contracts earlier this year. In addition, the largest of the three required construction contacts has been awarded for the Dresden Island Rehabilitation Project. Our overall closure schedule is contingent on Rock Island District awarding two additional construction contracts (Brandon Road, and Starved Rock/Marseilles) on timelines and with lead times necessary to start construction on 1 June 2023 at Brandon Road, Dresden Island, Marseilles, and Starved Rock Locks.
Our team is now tightly focused on addressing two high-risk challenges driven by recent material cost and supply chain challenges: securing additional funding to award the remaining contract work, and receiving the critical supplies necessary to complete all identified work within the scheduled closure window. While these risks pose the potential to delay the closures until 2024, USACE is doing all it can to secure additional funds sufficient to award remaining construction contracts this month. We are also actively working with contractors on the awarded contract schedules to find ways to ensure components are delivered on time.
While highly successful in the end, our 2020 Closures had to overcome multiple complex challenges and significant risk that required flexibility and adaptability for all involved. We will continue to apply that experience and the many lessons learned derived from it to help us resolve current challenges to maintain schedule for the 2023 Closures.
We value our relationship with our partners in the navigation industry and will continue to ensure all decisions are made in the mutual interest of maximizing safe and efficient transportation on the Illinois Waterway. Expect additional updates as we learn more. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me.
THOMAS D. HEINOLD, P.E.
Chief, Operations Division
US Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District
(309) 573-6382 (cell)