Corps to demolish dam in Monongahela River after 100-plus years of navigation, open new lock

ELIZABETH, Pa. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District is hosting a public information session to provide an update on the Lower Monongahela River Project as it nears the final phase.

As part of the project’s next phase, the Pittsburgh District plans to demolish the dam near Elizabeth and open a newly constructed navigation lock near Charleroi this year.

WHO: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District (USACE)

WHAT: This public information session is a forum for the community to learn about the project’s progress and future and to address community concerns. It will consist of a 60-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer segment.

WHERE: Elizabeth Forward High School, 1000 Weigles Hill Road, Elizabeth, PA 15037.

WHEN: 7 – 9 p.m., Thursday, May 16.

WHY: Public meetings are important opportunities for communities to learn about, provide feedback, voice concerns, and share information about district activities and objectives. Locks and Dams 2, 3, and 4 on the Monongahela River in Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties are the three oldest currently operating navigation facilities on the Monongahela River. These locks experience the highest volume of commercial traffic on the entire Monongahela River navigation system, and the pools created by these facilities provide industrial and municipal water and are popular with recreational boaters.

Stations will be available, both before and after the presentation, for community members to engage district experts one-on-one about topics such as the project’s history, status, river levels, and upcoming project activity.

“Many of the navigation improvements made on our rivers go unnoticed by the residents and communities bordering the river,” said Steve Fritz, the district’s megaproject program manager. “However, there will be noticeable changes to river levels in the summer of 2024.”

In 1994, USACE began modernizing locks 2, 3, and 4 on the lower Monongahela River in the Braddock, Elizabeth, and Charleroi communities. USACE will begin removing Monongahela River Locks and Dam 3 in mid-2024. Removing Locks and Dam 3 is the project’s final phase after completing construction work at Locks and Dam 4 near Charleroi. The initial phase was completed in 2004 and included major construction work at Locks and Dam 2 in Braddock.

“This signifies the culmination of 30 years of engineering and construction efforts to modernize the navigation facilities on the lower Monongahela River,” said Fritz. “In addition to providing reliable river navigation for the next century, this project will return more than $200 million in annual benefits to the region and nation.”

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