Editor's Note: This release is an update to a previous release dated May 6 viewable here.
MARSEILLES, Ill. (May 9) — The Unified Command announced Thursday that the planned 4 foot drawdown of the Marseilles pool, originally Friday, has been delayed to Saturday.
The Marseilles Dam was damaged during an incident April 18 when seven barges broke loose from a tow during historic flooding on the Illinois River. Four of the seven barges have been removed through salvage operations, but those operations have been suspended as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works to repair the dam and construct a rock dike just below the dam.
The required drawdown is being implemented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard and the barge industry. Mike Cox, chief of operations division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, said the reason for the drawdown is to reduce river flows at the dam.
The drawdown is planned to last 3 to 7 days depending on how long it takes to complete the construction of the temporary rock dike. Navigation notices have been coordinated and broadcasted to mariners who may be affected by the drawdown.
During the drawdown period, the Coast Guard plans to allow recreational boaters and manually-powered watercrafts, such as kayaks and canoes, to operate between Spring Brook Marina at mile marker 252 and the Dresden Lock at mile marker 271.5. All vessels are prohibited from operating between Spring Brook Marina and the Marseilles Lock during the drawdown without obtaining permission from the Captain of the Port Sector Lake Michigan.
Vessels desiring to enter the restricted area after the drawdown begins can contact the Coast Guard at 630-336-0300.
The Marseilles Lock will be available to recreational vessel traffic on Friday, May 10, at 3:30 p.m for southbound transits and 4:15 p.m. for northbound transits. The Marseilles Lock will be closed to recreational vessel transits after May 10 for the duration of the drawdown.
The Coast Guard has established a 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 http://tinyurl.com/marseillesdamincident <http://tinyurl.com/marseillesdamincident> .
Army Corps of Engineers, Allen Marshall 309-751-7495
U.S. Coast Guard, Chief Alan Haraf 216-389-0420
Ingram Barge Company, Elizabeth Fielding 615-335-0225