Celebrations were in order at the $732 million Lock and Dam #25 expansion May 18 groundbreaking ceremony at the Winfield, MO, site. The funding for the project is part of the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP), which will include construction of a new 1,200-foot lock chamber adjacent to the existing one. The lock will now be able to host a 15-barge tow, transporting more than 800,000 bushels of soybeans in one single pass compared to disassembling the barge tow into two sections, which results in two passes. In addition, a second lock will provide needed resiliency and redundancy, allowing a key link in the supply chain to remain operational if one of the lock chambers is closed. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers estimates the project will be completed in 2034.
ASA has pushed aggressively for L&D #25 funding and other, similar waterways infrastructure improvements, as have the Soy Transportation Coalition and other groups. STC Executive Director Mike Steenhoek attended the ceremony and shared the industry perspective on the much-needed upgrades with RFD-TV. “Agriculture is a tight margin industry, so any time you can make your supply chain more economical, it betters positions you for success. And this is just an example of an enhancement to our supply chain that will make us more competitive,” said Steenhoek. First opened in 1939, Lock and Dam #25 is the most southern lock and dam on the Mississippi River, with a single 600 ft. by 110 ft. lock chamber. Almost every bushel of soybeans, corn, and other grain transported along the Mississippi River from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin will pass through Lock and Dam #25 en route to export facilities near the Gulf of Mexico.