US Army Corps of Engineers
Louisville District Website

Olmsted Locks and Dam - Benefits

The Army Corps of Engineers estimates that this project will produce average annual economic benefits to the nation of more than $640 million. The new locks will operate more efficiently and will pass tows with fewer delays. Delays ultimately raise the price of commodities which move on the waterways. Total lockage time will be reduced from approximately five hours through Locks and Dams No. 52 and 53 to less than one hour in the new project. The Corps estimates lockage wait times of 150 hours per tow by the year 2025 at Lock and Dam 52 without the new locks.

Approximately 90 million tons move through Locks 52/53. The value of commodities is estimated to be on the average per year around $22 billion.

(Projected – 115-130 million tons by 2020)

Taxpayers experience cost savings when commodities move on the river. Utility rates in the region are among lowest in country.
One 15 barge tow moves the equivalent of 1,050 semi trucks. Navigation is critical to the regional economy.

Water transportation is environmentally friendly. It uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions on a per ton movement basis than either truck or rail and it is less land intensive. If all of Locks and Dam 52 and 53 “traffic” of commodities moved by semi truck, it would take approximately 11,000 trucks per day to move what currently moves by barge.