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January 22, 2021
Press Release

(PITTSBURGH, PA) – Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, announced today that the Upper Ohio Navigation Project was granted a $22 million Construction New Start award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  This $22 million award will enable the Army Corps to finish the pre-construction engineering and design phase and begin construction work on the Montgomery Locks and Dam. 

Located in Allegheny and Beaver Counties, the Emsworth, Dashields and Montgomery locks, which are included in the Upper Ohio Navigation Project, are the oldest locks on the Ohio River system.  All three locks are more than 70 years old and at serious risk of failure.  A major failure would effectively close the entire Port of Pittsburgh, negatively impacting both industries that are essential to the region, as well as thousands of local jobs.  The $1.8 billion Upper Ohio Navigation Project is expected to take another seven years to complete.

“The potential shutdown of our inland waterways system because of a failure of our aging system of locks and dams is very real and would be catastrophic,” said Lamb.  “It is critical that we invest in infrastructure projects to protect our economy and create good jobs.  This award is an important first step, and I will continue to work in Washington to ensure that the funding is in place to complete this project.” 

“This is awesome news.  Our Pittsburgh team is postured and ready to aggressively move forward with the design and construction at Montgomery Locks and Dam.  Investment in this critical infrastructure will ensure this region remains a vital part of our country’s inland navigation system for decades to come,” said Andrew J. “Coby” Short, Pittsburgh District Commander for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“The Ohio River is a major part of our nation’s inland waterways’ navigation system and all three locks in the Pittsburgh District on the Ohio are old and need to be rebuilt,” said Mary Ann Bucci, Executive Director for the Port of Pittsburgh Commission.  “To get this new start classification and initial funds dedicated for the Montgomery Lock near Beaver, PA is a big deal, especially to the more than 76,000 jobs in the region that are dependent on a reliable and efficient inland waterways system, and we are very appreciative to Congressman Lamb for lining up this project and making it happen.”

Earlier this month, Lamb was joined by Representatives Mike Doyle (PA-18), Mike Kelly (PA-16), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), Bill Johnson (OH-6) and David McKinley (WV-1) in a bipartisan letter to the Corps advocating that the Upper Ohio Navigation Project receive priority budget consideration.

The passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA 2020) in December of 2020, which included multiple provisions by Lamb, further underscored Congress’ commitment to the nation’s inland waterways, as the federal cost share for inland navigation projects was raised from 50 percent to 65 percent.  In addition to WRDA 2020, H.R. 133 also provided appropriations for FY2021, including a New Start for an inland navigation project like the Upper Ohio Navigation Project.

Visit Lamb’s website to review the full letter to the Corps.