Navigation resumes along Illinois River (Unified Command News Release)

Published May 4, 2013

Editor's note: Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan has begun issuing a broadcast notice to mariners, which can be read by clicking here <> , to alert mariners of a Regulated Navigation Area in effect on the Illinois River.

MARSEILLES, Ill. (May 4) – The Unified Command announced Friday that navigation will resume Saturday morning along a section of the Illinois River that has been closed to river traffic after seven barges broke free from a tow during heavy weather and came to rest against the Marseilles Dam, April 18.   

The U.S. Coast Guard, in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, plans to permit restricted navigation for recreational and commercial from the Dresden Lock and Dam at Mile Marker 271.4 and Mile Marker 240.

The Coast Guard has established a Regulated Navigation Area to protect the general public, vessels and tows from hazards associated with obstructions in the Marseilles Lock canal, and salvage operations being conducted in the vicinity.

Vessels intending to pass through the Marseilles Lock must notify the Coast Guard Watch, located at the Marseilles Lock, by contacting 630-336-0300 at least one hour in advance of intended lockage.

Northbound vessels must obtain a lockage authorization code from the Coast Guard Watch prior to mile marker 240, while southbound vessels must obtain authorization prior to mile marker 250.

All vessels are prohibited from transiting, anchoring, or operating within the authorized navigation area without approval from the Captain of the Port. This rule is in effect from May 4 through June 30.    

The Marseilles Dam, which was damaged during an accident April 18, has been undergoing salvage and repair operations requiring restricted navigation in the areas upstream of the dam. Those operations continue, but after a thorough review of Marseilles survey data, the Corps has deemed the stability of the dam to be safe and can allow navigation to resume with safety restrictions.

The Coast Guard established a persistent website to keep the public informed of ongoing operations and provide the latest Unified Command updates on vessel transit restrictions for the Illinois River between the Starved Rock and Dresden Dams. Information can be accessed at


Army Corps of Engineers, Allen Marshall 309-751-7495

US Coast Guard, Chief Alan Haraf 216-389-0420

Ingram Barge Company, Elizabeth Fielding 615-335-0225

Release no. USCG