FUNDING ANNOUNCED FOR UPPER OHIO NAVIGATION PROJECT
(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Upper Ohio Navigation Project has received $7.7 million in funding for the Pre-Construction Engineering and Design (PED) phase under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) FY2020 Work Plan. The Upper Ohio Navigation Project addresses lock condition and capacity issues at Emsworth, Dashields, and Montgomery Locks and Dams along the Ohio River.
Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) and members of the regional delegation have advocated for funding of the project to ensure the stability of the Montgomery Lock, located at mile 31.7 of the Ohio River in Beaver County. Currently, the lock is at risk of catastrophic failure. All three facilities contained in the project were built between 1919 and 1936, are the oldest locks with the smallest chambers on the Ohio River. USACE has recommended the replacement of each auxiliary lock with the construction of one new, larger lock chamber at each facility.
In 2019, Lamb led a bipartisan letter to the Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee which was signed by Representatives Mike Doyle (PA-18), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), David McKinley (WV-1) and Bill Johnson (OH-6). Lamb also testified before the Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee and urged the administration to include the project in its Work Plan at a recent Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee hearing.
"Investing in long overdue infrastructure projects like the Montgomery Locks and Dams system is critical to the health of our region's economy. Rebuilding the Upper Ohio Navigation system will create and retain thousands of good jobs in southwestern PA. This project has widespread, bipartisan support because everyone recognizes the value this infrastructure investment will create," said Lamb.
"The Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers provide essential transportation for many Pittsburgh industries – moving 50 million tons of freight a year. That important commercial activity is only possible because of the locks and dams along the three rivers keep water levels high enough for the barges carrying all that cargo. Unfortunately, the locks and dams in our region, which were built in the 1920s and 1930s are crumbling and outdated – and must be replaced with modern locks and dams, which are stronger and larger," said Doyle. "I've been working to upgrade and replace the existing locks and dams throughout my time in Congress and am proud to have worked with my colleagues to secure this vital funding. Today's announcement is great news for our region, and I will continue to work to make sure that critical infrastructure projects like the Upper Ohio Navigation Project get the resources they need."
"I'm grateful the Army Corps recognized the need for investment in the aging Upper Ohio River locks and dams, which play a critical role in southwestern Pennsylvania's economy," said Reschenthaler. "The Port of Pittsburgh is the eastern gateway to our nation's inland waterways system and the third busiest inland port in the country. This project will ensure industries in our area, such as coal and steel, can maintain their competitive edge by quickly moving products to markets across the country and around the world."
"The Port of Pittsburgh Commission commends Congressman Lamb for championing, with his colleagues, PED funding for the Upper Ohio Navigation Project, said Mary Ann Bucci, executive director, Port of Pittsburgh Commission. "This is great news for our region and could not have happened without his focus on the importance of infrastructure to our local, state, and national economy."
"The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference, applauds Congressman Lamb's leadership and the bipartisan commitment to ensure that the Upper Ohio Navigation Project remained a priority in Washington," said Matt Smith, president, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. "Not only are our waterways critical for our region's economic vitality, moving upwards of 20 million tons of cargo per year, but also for the quality of life for all who live here."
Click here to read the letter to the Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee.