Officials: Lock 52 demo won't bother Brookport residents

Representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and contractors involved in the planned demolition of Lock and Dam 52 answer questions from Brookport, Ill., residents during a public meeting Thursday at city hall. They are (from left): Aaron Slates, project manager with C.J. Mahan Construction; Tom Greiwe, blasting project manager; and Bill Gilmore, constructability engineer with the USACE.

ANN DOUGLAS | Metropolis Planet

Blasting as part of the planned demolition of Lock and Dam 52 shouldn't have adverse affects on nearby Brookport, Illinois, residents were told this week during a public meeting.

Representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the project contractor, C.J. Mahan Construction, of Columbus, Ohio, briefed approximately 30 residents who attended a Thursday meeting at Brookport City Hall.

"Residents should not experience shaking buildings or rattling windows," said Tom Greiwe, blasting project manager. "You're more likely to hear just a thud."

Blasting is expected to begin later this month as soon as low water stages are reached on the Ohio River. The planned completion date for the $35.5 million demolition project is December 2020.

River traffic will be closed from the Brookport bridge to the Interstate 24 bridge between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. while explosives are loaded and then detonated. Conditions permitting, the blast should occur around noon every day Monday through Saturday.

There will be two boats clearing the safety area of any river traffic before the blasts. A signal will sound five minutes before the blast and again one minute before the blast. An all-clear signal will occur afterwards.

Demolition of the marine features at 52 will involve blasting of the concrete portions of the lock, which will break it up enough so that it can be removed in smaller chunks with heavy machinery, according to the Corps.

Cement debris will be loaded on the Illinois side of the river and will be covered with rip rap to an even slope. The wooden wickets also will be buried with the debris after removal.

The Corps of Engineers and its contractor will update the U.S. Coast Guard and the navigation industry of the blasting schedule and river traffic procedures.

With the opening of the new Olmsted Locks and Dam last year, Locks and Dam 52 and 53, located at Brookport and Grand Chain, Illinois, were no longer necessary.

The antiquated design of 52 and 53, originally completed in 1928 and 1929, made it increasingly impossible to meet the modern-day traffic demands along the key stretch of the Ohio River.

Some demolition on Lock and Dam 53 has already begun. The contract for that project is $36 million.

The Metropolis Planet contributed to this report.

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