Backlog of Maintenance

Rock Island District
Published Oct. 30, 2023
An aerial view of Locks and Dam 14 on the Mississippi River near LeClaire, Iowa.

An aerial view of Locks and Dam 14 on the Mississippi River near LeClaire, Iowa.


Mississippi River & Illinois Waterway Locks and Dams


The Major Rehabilitation and Major Maintenance Program for the Locks and Dams on the Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway has been ongoing since 1975. Major rehabilitation consists of reliability or efficiency improvements.

Reliability improvements are considered when they significantly extend the physical life of a component, have direct consequences to navigation and ecosystem, and can be economically justified by benefit-to-cost analysis. The region focuses on this method of major rehabilitation.

Efficiency improvements are considered if they enhance the operational efficiency of the component.

Major maintenance is categorized as major repairs or improvements that don't qualify for major rehabilitation and must be funded out of the regular O&M Budget.

The remainder of the regular O&M Budget dollars are used for baseline (routine) operation and maintenance.

Through use of Asset Management tools, O&M funding is being targeted from a corporate posture to the structures with the highest risk and probability of failure in alignment with impact costs to navigation. Through this focused funding model, local funding is increasing within Rock Island District due to the overall need and risk of Lock and Dam Structures. These funds support component life extensions and focus on reliability vice significant facility life extensions.

Although targeted funding for component replacement increases near term reliability, facility life extensions are critical for system long term durability.


L&D Components not justified for Major Rehabilitation and consequence of not doing work:

Lock Miter Gates: Miter gate failure would cause closure of locks to all navigation and shipments.

Auxiliary Miter Gates: Continued deterioration and potential loss of pools for navigation and ecosystem sustainability.

Lock and Dam Electrical Systems: Electrical failures cause temporary power outages to lock and dam operating machinery. Such failures would impact lock operation as well as pool regulation for navigation and ecosystem sustainability.

Repair Dam Roller and Tainter Gates: Deterioration of gate structures is occurring with possible failure and inability to regulate pool for navigation and ecosystem management.

Lock and Dam Concrete: Concrete supports and protects lock and dam operating machinery and gates. Concrete is deteriorating exponentially. Concrete failures are now more frequent creating a greater probability of damage to miter gates by transiting tows. Increasing potential for inability to manage pools for navigation and ecosystem sustainability.

Operations and Maintenance and Major Rehabilitation Programs are unable to adequately fund maintenance activities to ensure the navigation system operates at an acceptable level of performance. The Mississippi Valley Division created a Product Delivery Team in early 2006 to address this problem regionally for the entire Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway Locks and Dams systems. Prior to creating the regional PDT, the amount of maintenance being deferred was increasing for some locks and dams in some districts while other districts were awarding contract improvements annually. The regional approach improved this inequity. The PDT meets regularly, at least quarterly or more often as necessary.

MVR is focused and committed to component replacement, which provides site and system reliability. MVR’s Backlog of Maintenance for navigation on both waterways is valued at over $1.6 billion (FY21 value). Some of the highest ranking Rock Island District maintenance projects include the following:

  • Mississippi River L/D 19 Major Rehabilitation / Major Maintenance
  • Systemic Miter Gate Replacement at Multiple L/D Sites on the Mississippi River and the Illinois Waterway
  • Systemic Dam (Tainter) Gate Replacement at Multiple L/D Sites on the Mississippi River and the Illinois Waterway
  • Systemic Lock and Dam Concrete/Steel Repairs at Multiple L/D Sites on the Mississippi River and the Illinois Waterway

Additional Information


OM - Operations and Maintenance
River and Harbor Act of 1930

Major Work Item Current Year

FY 2023: Resources will be used to operate and maintain existing Lock and Dam infrastructure as well as focus on critical backlog of maintenance items, some of which are listed below:

  • L/D 17 Upper Guidewall Sheet Pile Replacement
  • Dam 22 Tainter Gate Replacement Stage 1 (ongoing)
  • Dam 22, 21, 20, and 18 Bulkhead Lifter Replacement
  • L/D 21 Lock Concrete Repairs (Stage 1)
  • Lock 19 PLC Replacement
  • L/D 21 and 22 Traveling Kevel Rail Replacement
  • Brandon Road Lock Upper Miter Gate Installation and Machinery Replacement
  • Dresden Island Lock Upper Miter Gate Replacement, Culvert Valve Replacement, Machinery Replacement and Electrical Rehab
  • Marseilles Lock Electrical Crossover Installation and Concrete Repairs
  • Starved Lock Rock Concrete Repairs