The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District released its Fiscal Year 2022 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) supplemental funding for Construction, Continuing Authorities Program, Environmental Infrastructure, and Operations and Maintenance, Jan. 20.
Through the IIJA, Pittsburgh District will receive more than $881.9 million in supplemental funding to support 25 projects, which includes $857.7 million dedicated to the critically needed Upper Ohio Navigation project.
“The supplemental funding received from the IIJA will fully fund the design and construction of a new lock chamber at Montgomery Locks and Dam,” said Mark Jones, district chief of Engineering and Construction. “Fully funding the Montgomery lock design and construction will allow for more efficient and cost-effective construction of the project.”
When complete, work at Montgomery will address reliability concerns by replacing the aging and deteriorated 56-foot wide by 360-foot-long auxiliary chamber with a new 110-foot wide by 600-foot-long primary chamber.
“River traffic is something few people think about unless it is shut down. The Montgomery Lock and Dam is nearly 100 years old, and if it collapses, we could lose thousands of jobs and add thousands of trucks to our roads, meaning more pollution and traffic. This funding is essential and the result of years of advocacy and old-fashioned, hard legislative work,” said Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-17).
The Upper Ohio Navigation project will provide safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable navigation on the Upper Ohio River, a significant portion of the nation’s extensive inland waterways navigation system. The project includes substantial recapitalization at the Emsworth, Dashields, and Montgomery locks and dams, the oldest and smallest navigation facilities on the Ohio River.
“The inland navigation system is a crucial contributor to national and regional economic success,” said Col. Adam Czekanski, commander of the Pittsburgh District. “Receiving this supplemental funding will ensure this crucial inland navigation facility continues to provide the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly means of moving bulk commodities for decades to come. We appreciate the continued strong congressional support for this project.”
Besides inland navigation funding, the legislation also provides funding to explore sedimentation removal at a local flood protection project in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
In addition to the construction funding for Montgomery Locks, the district will receive more than $10.3 million at 11 district multipurpose reservoirs. The Operations and Maintenance funding will provide energy and water efficiency improvements. The improvements will range from upgrades to sewage treatment facilities, visitors’ centers, and nature trails at the district’s recreation facilities, as well as other green initiatives in support of environmental stewardship.
“The IIJA funding is going to have an immediate and positive impact on recreation in the area,” said Joe Kolodziej, the district’s Southern Area Operations project manager. “Visitors to some of our facilities will see new roofs and upgrades to the visitor’s center. Some of the upgrades will also positively affect aquatic wildlife, and others will provide better access to areas. Overall, it will allow us to do some of the things that might have had to wait years for funding.”
Additionally, more than $7.9 million of the supplemental funding is allocated to two Environmental Infrastructure projects. The corps is authorized to assist non-Federal interests in carrying out water-related environmental infrastructure, and resource protection and development projects.
“By receiving this additional funding, the district can assist two communities that might not otherwise receive help with their watershed and water treatment plant challenges,” said Scott Swansinger, a district project manager.
Pittsburgh District’s 26,000 square miles include portions of western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, eastern Ohio, western Maryland, and southwestern New York. Our jurisdiction includes more than 328 miles of navigable waterways, 23 navigation locks and dams, 16 multi-purpose reservoirs, 42 local flood protection projects and other projects to protect and enhance the nation’s water resources, infrastructure, and environment.
The district’s additional missions include water supply, emergency response, and regulation of the Clean Water Act. The corps often partners with local communities to improve water supply, sanitary sewer, and stormwater infrastructure. During disasters, the district manages the nation’s emergency power contract which provides temporary power to downed critical infrastructure. District personnel deploy overseas to help build, manage, and administer water resource infrastructure projects.
Know. Take. Wear. Know the waterways. Take a safety course. Wear your life jacket.