Kansas City District inspects BIL funded repairs to Missouri River navigation channel

Kansas City District
Published April 7, 2023
Seven people pose in front of a crane and a large pile of rocks on a barge. The person in the front is holding a sign that says "Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project 2019 Flood Repairs"

USACE staff and contractors pose for a photo during a navigation and inspection on the Missouri River near Atchison, Kansas, on April 5, 2023. | Photo by Jessica Schaeffer, Kansas City District Public Affairs

A barge is on the river with a crane placing rock on the river bank. Trees are in the background.

Contractors work to make repairs on the Missouri River on a floating barge near Atchison, Kansas, on April 5, 2023. | Photo by Jessica Schaeffer, Kansas City District Public Affairs

With navigation season starting earlier this month, the Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspected some of the repair work being done on the Missouri River to restore the navigation channel to its pre-2019 flood condition near Atchison, Kansas, on April 5, 2023. The contracts for repairs to the navigation channel have been funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, or BIL. 

“Today we are kicking off the construction contracts for the 2019 flood repairs of the Missouri River navigation channel … that were awarded under BIL funds,” said Dane Morris, Missouri River navigation restoration program manager for the Kansas City District.

The historic 2019 flood of the Missouri River caused significant damage to the navigation channel, which provides essential transportation of agricultural goods to the region and the nation. The Kansas City District received $249 million of BIL funding and part of these funds have been allocated to repairing the navigation channel.

“Without this funding, the navigation channel would be in very bad shape and wouldn’t function as intended,” said Morris. “This money … gets the Missouri River back to a condition to be a safe, reliable and navigable waterway for the region.”

Col. Travis Rayfield, Kansas City District commander and district engineer, accompanied some of the navigation team to inspect repairs along the bank of the river. One contractor, W.A. Ellis Construction Company, was out working and showed Col. Rayfield the status of the repair work.

"The BIL funds we have received to execute navigation repairs have allowed us to keep the Missouri River open despite the low water conditions," said Rayfield. "Additional repairs will help us continue to support the operation and sustainment of the river's navigation channel and add to the value the Missouri River provides to the region and the nation."

Maintaining close relationships with both the contractors and the navigation industry partners has been a top priority for the Kansas City District. Keeping communication open between all partners will ensure timely, quality work is done to repair the navigation channel to keep transportation on our waterways accessible.

“I think having that relationship, having that close communication has been extremely valuable for [USACE] and for the navigation industry,” said Morris. “We can focus the resources to the right areas … so the navigation channel can remain open, even in times of drought and low water like the basin is currently experiencing.”

Navigation season officially started April 1, 2023, and will run through November 2023, if conditions remain favorable. Contracts for the navigation channel repair work were awarded in 2022 and are expected to run through 2025.

Kansas City District Public Affairs

Release no. 23-007