U.S. Senate funds work lower Mon navigation improvements

Scott Beveridge
Observer Reporter

The U.S. Senate Thursday approved the spending of $89 million on navigational improvements that are more than a decade behind schedule on the Monongahela River, including work in the Charleroi area.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s office said the bill was awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature for the appropriations that would be funded in the 2019 fiscal year.

“Fighting for robust waterways funding, including support for the Lower Mon project, has remained a priority of mine throughout my tenure in the Senate,” Casey said.

“This funding will be available to cover the full capability of the Lower Mon project in 2019,” he said.

The money would fund ongoing work on a new lock chamber at Locks and Dam No. 4 in Charleroi, said Jeff Hawk, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh.

The Lower Mon projects included the construction of a new, higher dam on the river in Braddock. The plan also calls for the removal of a fragile dam in Elizabeth and a massive dredging project to keep a navigational channel open south of Charleroi.

The work began in 1991 and is 13 years behind schedule because of underfunding in each fiscal year since that time.

The project was designed to make it more safe and efficient to ship bulk goods by having better facilities and one fewer lock to travel through.