Demolition begins on Brookport Lock and Dam 52 - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Demolition begins on Brookport Lock and Dam 52

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BROOKPORT (WSIL) -- A construction company from Ohio has begun demolishing a dam near Brookport that's stood for nearly a century.

Lock and Dam 52 is slated to be destroyed by December 2020 as crews work to tear down the dam's two oldest river walls. Project director Bill Gilmour says workers will also make sure that anything that remains of the structure, will be at least 17 feet below the Ohio River's surface.

"It will no longer be a hazard. Stuff that's deeper than that we'll do nothing," Gilmour said adding that the structures closest to the shore will remain abandoned.

A 35-year veteran for Army Corps of Engineers, Gilmour says crews will use a series of explosions to break up the concrete below the river's surface. He says residents won't be able to hear the explosions because there's not enough powder in the dynamite to create a noisy blast.

The $35.5 million project was slated to start as early as June 1, but crews had to wait to excavate until floodwaters receded two weeks ago.

"It should stay at this level probably up until Thanksgiving or Christmas maybe," Gilmour said. He hopes that the heavy rain can stay away long enough for workers to make up for lost time.

"Nature may let us work up until February which if that's the case that lost time back then will be made up we don't know," Gilmour said. "Here's hoping."

Crews will be working on Lock and Dam 52 Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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