Illinois Waterway 2019 & 2020 Closure
Illinois Waterway 2019 Closure
Partial closures have ended and all locks are operating 24 hours 7 days a week.
The Lockport Lock (MM 294) on the Illinois Waterway will be closed to all traffic September 21st - October 5th.
The Marseilles Lock (MM 245) and Starved Rock Lock (MM 232) on the Illinois River will be closed to all traffic from September 20th - October 5th for maintenance.
Illinois Waterway 2020 Closure
Anyone who has boated the inland rivers knows many of the locks are in desperate need of maintenance. A plan by the Army Corp of Engineers (COE) has been put in motion to close seven locks on the Illinois River, essentially closing the waterway from July 1, 2020 through October 31, 2020.
While we support the effort to maintain the waterway for commercial and recreational use, and we support the idea of one closure to maintain this series of locks, the time frame selected is just about the worst-case scenario for those doing the Great Loop in the “traditional” one-year time-frame where you complete the Great Lakes and head down the Illinois River in late summer or early fall. The COE has sandwiched the work between what is typically the spring flood season and the peak of grain harvest season. The work cannot be completed in the winter due to freezing temperatures unless they build structures over the locks and heat them, which they do not have the budget to do. Simply put, there is no other time of the year that this can happen.
AGLCA is continuing to work on options for our members for 2020. There are several possibilities, and we are determining whether and how we can support our members as they:
- Linger in the Great Lakes and start the inland rivers later than "usual"
- Leave the Great Lakes earlier than "usual"
- Extend the season for cruising the Great Lakes and then store the boat winter of 2020, and continuing the Loop in 2021
- Haul the boat near Chicago and ship it to the Upper Mississippi
- Loop clockwise
We realize all of the options have their pros and cons. Not every option is possible for every boat. AGLCA has prepared a webinar for our members that provides details on all of these options as well as information to help you decide which may be the best for your circumstances.
Webinar: Looping in 2020 with the Illinois Waterway Closed for Lock Maintenance
With the Illinois River closed for lock maintenance from July 1st – October 31st, those Looping in 2020 will have some extra challenges! This session will give you details on a few ideas for how to do the Loop in 2020 and help you determine which options are possibilities for you. We'll also explain how AGLCA can offer support for the Fleet of 2020 in dealing with the closure.
Free. AGLCA Members Only.
An AGLCA staff member will check your registration against the member database and then approve your registration.
In addition, we're asking members who plan to Loop in 2020 to share their plan for handling the closure by answering our brief survey. This information will enable us to focus our resources in the areas members need them most as they Loop in 2020. For example, if many Loopers plan to transit the Illinois after the opening, we'll work to ensure marinas have space available and fuel stops remain open.
We'll continue to update this page as more information is available.