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Posted 10/2/2014

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By Samantha Heilig


The Marseilles Dam Emergency Response, Illinois Waterway Project Delivery Team (PDT) was recently recognized as the Corps of Engineers 2014 Project Delivery Team of the Year for Merit. The 84-member team was nominated for this award for demonstrating tremendous dedication, innovation and resolve in dealing with repairs following a nearly catastrophic incident at the navigation dam on the Illinois River at Marseilles, Illinois.

The team, comprised of people from nearly every office in the District, engaged quickly to assess damages, plan and execute temporary repairs. The group also mitigated issues and developed plans for future repairs while maintaining prompt and effective communication with multiple agencies and stakeholders under extreme schedule constraints and high levels of public scrutiny.

In April 2013, a navigation  incident during a record flow event on the Illinois Waterway resulted in seven barges impacting and damaging the dam at Marseilles, while major flooding was affecting the adjacent city of Marseillies. In just a few weeks, the PDT was able to design and execute a plan to temporarily stabilize the dam and pool, and mitigate for the loss of dam capacity. Check out the 2013 Special Edition Tower Times for the original story on the Marseilles incident http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Portals/48/docs/CC/TowerTimes/2013/2013SpecialEditionTTWeb.pdf

As part of the response to the incident, the PDT determined that a rock dike was needed to block the flow of water through the damaged gates. This plan was highly innovative and unique in its scale. It was designed in only a matter of days and built in less than three weeks. Once completed, this dike allowed for navigation to resume on the Illinois Waterway, and navigation will be unaffected while permanent repairs to the dam are being made.

“The great success of the Marseilles Dam Emergency Response Project, even under adverse circumstances, is the product of the highly functional PDT involved in making it happen,” said Andrew Barnes, assistant chief, Project Management Branch. “The PDT's blend of experience, expertise, innovation and dedication was of paramount importance to the success of the project”