MARSEILLES, Ill. (April 26) – Salvage operations continued Thursday near the Marseille’s Dam with three more barges being removed.
A second submerged barge was removed Thursday after its remaining cargo of rolled coils was removed by a large crane known as the HERCULES that the Army Corps of Engineers brought in Wednesday.
Later in the afternoon, two more barges were removed, leaving only three submerged barges near the Dam. Lightering of the remaining three barges will begin this weekend.
"We had a very successful day in terms of removing three more barges from the Marseilles Dam, but most importantly, this has enabled more functional operations at the dam to slow the loss of water in the navagational pool," said Scott Noble, senior vice president, Ingram Barge Company.
As a result of the three additional barges being removed Thursday, two additional gates are operational. This will result in more water retention, keeping water levels at a normal depth for a longer period of time. The anticipated loss of the navigational pool may not occur now until the middle of next week.
On Wednesday, the Unified Command announced that due to damage to some of the gates of the dam, loss of the navigational pool between the Marseilles Lock and Dam and the Dresden Dam and Lock was imminent and could be lost by as early as this week.
Loss of the navigational pool means that the Army Corps of Engineers may not be able to sustain a channel depth of nine feet. It does not mean that a portion of the river will be lost completely.
“Today was a very encouraging day of progress,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Matt Sibley, Incident Commander in charge of the Unified Command. “We are excited and remain committed to working toward the ultimate goal of reopening this part of the Illinois River as quickly as possible.” Capt. Sibley is also the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan.
Release no. USCG