Craig Hess handles locks and dams on the Illinois River for the Army Corps. He says the move helps keep the water from washing over the levees. But the stoppage will likely have a significant economic impact. Hess says its difficult to even estimate that right now as about 180 miles of the river is closed, including at least four hubs. He says how long it will be closed also remains a unknown because clean-up has to be factored in.
Hess: “Marseilles’ Lock went underwater so right now it has come up out of water and all of our available personnel are up there right now pulling motors out and cleaning up buildings, getting it back in operational status. Starved Rock Lock and Dam is still underwater. Once the water recedes from there personnel will move to that location and help them get that up and running.” Hess says more rain forecasted for today will delay the fall of the river level and that makes it harder to calculate when the clean-up might begin.