Chicago Harbor

Chicago District
Published Jan. 9, 2024
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Project Description and Background

Authorized as a commercial harbor. Project depth is 29 feet in the Lake Michigan harbor approach, 28 feet in the outer harbor, and 21 feet to Rush Street.

Approximately 20,357 feet of timber crib, laid-up stone, and concrete caisson breakwater structures. The federal channel within the harbor is 2.2 miles and it connects to the deep draft Chicago River channel extending 4.0 miles to the North Avenue turning basin.

The Chicago Harbor Lock provides 24/7 lock operations and is 100% available to commercial towboat and deep draft barges, government, passenger, and recreational vessels. Chicago Lock is the second busiest USACE lock in the nation, averaging over 12,000 lockage’s per year.  In addition, when emergency water-level control (backflow) is needed, USACE releases water from the river into Lake Michigan through the lock gates to prevent flooding of downtown Chicago.

Current Status

Available funds will be used for operation and maintenance of existing structures, including Phase 3&4 Lock Chamber Wall repair, Lock Chamber Floor Repair, switchgear construction, breakwater repair, North Pier resurfacing, sector gate operating machinery repair, lock house renovations and parking lot re-pavement.

Construction activities in the lock chamber are scheduled from 16 Nov 2022 to 14 April 2023 to avoid impacts to commercial tour boats.

Funds provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) will be used for the Lock Chamber Floor Repair Phase 2 (West Floor).

Project Authorization

Rivers and Harbors Act of 1870, 1880, 1912, 1919, and 1962.

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