Every year, millions of tons of commodities pass through the Melvin Price Locks and Dam. The facility is located south of the majestic Clark Bridge near Alton, Illinois on the Upper Mississippi River at river mile 200.78, two miles downstream from the original Lock and Dam No. 26. The Melvin Price Locks and Dam help to control the flow of the Mississippi and is the means by which barges are able to navigate the river.
This is the first replacement structure on the Upper Mississippi River nine-foot navigation project. Construction of the Locks and Dam began in 1978 and was completed in 1994. The Dam is 1,160 feet long, with 9 tainter gates, each 110 feet wide by 42 feet high. There are two lock chambers at Melvin Price. The main chamber is 1,200 feet long by 110 feet wide. THe auxiliary chamber is 600 feet long by 110 feet wide.
Width from shore to shore:
1160 feet – almost 4 football fields
Total length of main lock and guidewalls: 3982 feet – 3/4 of a mile
246 miles total – driven to bedrock
800,000 cubic yards – enough for 123,000 home driveways
21 million pounds – enough for 10 Gateway Arches
Total weight: 3.4 billion pounds, base concrete slab that the locks rest on is 20 feet thick
Tainter Gates: Nine gates that are 110 feet wide by 40 feet high
Miter gates: 62 feet wide by 57.5 feet high and weigh 220 tons each – almost the same as the statue of liberty