Friday, February 24, 2012

Asian Carp Could Mean Construction Bonanza

The Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative have released a million dollar study by Omaha based HDR, Inc. of methods for physically blocking the spread of predatory Asian Carp into Lake Michigan through the Chicago Area Waterway System. The study proposes three different options for physical obstruction of carp migration through the water system originally built to keep raw Chicago River sewage out of Lake Michigan.

The options all involve sheet pilings and impermeable land bridges within the navigable waterways, with the two more expensive options including intermodal cargo transfers and recreational boat lifts to maintain navigability. Costs of the various construction projects are predicted to range from $3.3 billion up to $9.5 billion, with a time line of 10 years before breaking ground, and completion in 2029.  The Army Corps of Engineers is also studying the Asian Carp problem, and in a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, 31 Congressmen and Senators have asked her to include the HDR study in the Corps project to speed up the fish barrier.
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