Brandon Road Interbasin Project

Rock Island District
Published Oct. 30, 2023
The current Brandon Road Interbasin Project site layout as of October 2023.

The current Brandon Road Interbasin Project site layout as of October 2023.


Brandon Road Lock and Dam, Joliet, Illinois, Des Plaines River


The Brandon Road Interbasin Project (BRIP) is a complex ecosystem restoration project with innovative technological deterrents. It is designed to prevent upstream movement of invasive carp and other aquatic nuisance species into the Great Lakes while minimizing impacts to the Illinois Waterway users. The BRIP will be largely implemented within the downstream approach channel to the Brandon Road Lock & Dam in Joliet, Illinois.


The Chief’s Report recommending a National Ecosystem Restoration (NER) Plan was signed on May 23, 2019. The Chief’s Report was then sent to Congress who subsequently authorized the project in Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2020. A three-year Preconstruction Engineering and Design effort was initiated in January 2021 under a $28.8M Design Agreement with the State of Illinois. The State of Illinois executed a funding agreement with the State of Michigan. The January 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law endorsed a construction new start and appropriated $225.8M in construction funds for BRIP. An additional $47.88M of construction funds were appropriated in the FY2023 budget.

The BRIP deterrents, combined with the electric dispersal barrier at Romeoville, Illinois, will provide multilayered protection within the Chicago Area Waterways System, improving the protection of the Great Lakes from aquatic nuisance species from the Illinois Waterway while maintaining waterborne transportation between basins. The BRIP deterrents will be arranged in three construction increments to strategically deliver levels of layered defense:

Increment I:

(A) Automated Barge Clearing (ABC) deterrent; Leading Edge Bubble Deterrent; Leading Edge Acoustic Deterrent Array; Leading Edge Support Facilities; Upstream Boat Launch.

(B) Site Prep, Channel Rock Excavation

Increment II:

Electric Deterrent; Wide Acoustic Deterrent Array; Complete Control Building; Right Descending Bank Wall Connect to Lower Guide wall; Flushing Lock; Downstream Boat Launch.

Increment III:

Complete Engineered Channel

The BRIP deterrents will be monitored to ensure that they are performing as designed, and the Lower Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers will be managed to create a ‘population reduction zone’ where additional fish monitoring and harvest would occur to reduce the biological pressure on the BRIP deterrents. These management actions, referred to as non-structural measures, have an estimated annual investment of $12.0M and would be managed and primarily funded by the Department of Interior (USFWS & USGS) with the aid of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Non-structural measures include public education and outreach, monitoring, integrated pest management, piscicides, and manual or mechanical removal. These activities will be guided by research and adaptively managed over time.


After two years of focused research, large-scale testing, and design, and applied engineering and science, the site plan layout and deterrent features are fully defined. The leading edge of deterrents (Increment I-A) is now fully designed and on target for a 2024 construction contract award that will take approx. 3yrs to fully construct. Construction of all deterrents is expected to take 6-8 years with efficient funding.

An executed Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) (90:10 cost-share) with the State of Illinois is expected before the end of 2023 and will allow the project to initiate fabrication and construction utilizing the $273.7M in available Federal Funds. The continued project design in 2023 has been operating exclusively on the $2.9M the states of Illinois and Michigan have provided as accelerated funds to USACE. In June 2023, legislators from Michigan ($65M) and Illinois ($50M) approved the appropriations for the full $114M non-federal cost share for BRIP, which will be readily available to align with the currently appropriated Federal construction funds.

Additional Information:

An updated Total Project Cost was completed in March 2023. The new estimated Total Project Cost of ($1.146B) with 52% contingency represented a project cost increase of $131.4M (+12.9%) above the 2019 estimate ($1,014,696,000 with 65% contingency). The BRIP project has a highly effective communication strategy, engaging a wide variety of audiences, seeking input, and sharing the latest progress. The communication tools and outlets utilized in the past two years include: quarterly newsletters, charrettes, website, information papers, media interviews, TV programs, social media, regional webinars, industry day, focus groups and site tours. Many of these communication presentations and documents are accessible on the BRIP website: Environmental-Stewardship/BR-Interbasin-Project/.

Completed Activities:

  • Chief’s Report Milestone – 5/23/2019
  • Signed Design Agreement – 12/29/2020
  • BIL Construction New Start & Appropriations – 1/23/2022
  • PPA Negotiations Initiated – 12/26/2022
  • 100% Design Milestone on Increment I-A – 09/29/2023
  • Sponsor Accelerated Funds ($2.9M) received – 1/28/2023 ($1.5M), 6/07/23 ($1.1M), and 10/16/23 ($300K)

Feasibility: Sec 3061d, WRDA 2007 as amended with Section 1142 of WRDA 2018.
Construction: Section 401 WRDA 2020, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law 2022 and amended in Section 8337 of WRDA 2022.

Summarized Costs*

Estimated Fed Cost (90%)


Estimated Non-Fed Cost (10%)


Estimated Total Project Cost1


Allocations Prior to FY 2023


FY 2023 Allocation


FY 2024 Allocation


FY 2024 President’s Budget


FY 2024 Total Capability


1 The new certified Total Project Cost Estimate was completed in March 2023.

Major Work Item Prior Fiscal Year

FY 2023: Complete modeling and reports for the flushing lock model and downstream approach channel model, complete final report for the electric deterrent model, update and certify the Total Project Cost Estimate. PPA Negotiations have been ongoing from 16 Dec 2022 to present with indications we are drawing closer to an executed PP by end of 2023. Primary focus in FY23 has been achieving 100% design of the Increment I-A deterrents by end of the FY which was accomplished. In July, the team also began scoping, market research and contracting preparation for three significant FY24 contract awards: (a) construction contract for Increment I-A leading edge deterrents and control buildings, (b) design-build contract for Increment I-B channel rock excavation and (c) design contract(s) to develop engineering plans and specifications for all Increment II components.

Major Work Item Current Year:

FY 2024: Execute PPA in first quarter of FY24 in order to secure the $223M worth of fabrication, design and construction activities currently planned for in FY24. These activities will include (a) Fabrication Contract Award for Hydroacoustic Speakers, (b) Construction Contract Award for Increment I-A leading edge deterrents, (c) Complete Designs for Increment I-B site preparation and channel rock removal, and (d) A&E Design Contract Award for Increment II Engineered Channel deterrents.