Under Questioning from U.S. Senator Katie Britt, Army Corps Leader Confirms Both Demopolis Lock Repairs and Reopening, Mobile Harbor Deepening and Widening on Schedule

May 15, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2024 – U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today questioned the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Michael L. Connor, and the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. General Scott A. Spellmon, on Army Corps infrastructure projects critical to the state of Alabama.

Senator Britt began her line of questioning by asking the witnesses about ongoing repairs to the Demopolis Lock, which is located after the junction of the Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers. The lock typically experiences 12 daily transits of various critical cargoes, such as feedstock, steel, coal, and crude oil, and almost 12 million tons of cargo annually. The lock has been closed since January 16 after a catastrophic failure, resulting in significant negative impacts to Alabama’s economy, especially the customers who rely on inland waterway transit to export and import via Alabama’s deep-water seaport. Under Senator Britt’s questioning, Lt. General Spellmon confirmed that repairs are still on-schedule for completion and the lock is set to reopen to traffic by the end of this month, May 30, 2024.

Additionally, Senator Britt asked the witnesses about another project, the transformational Mobile Harbor Deepening Project, which will deepen and widen the Mobile Harbor Channel to allow for larger ships and two-way traffic. Lt. General Spellmon confirmed this project is also on track to be completed on time, by March 30, 2025, and that he anticipates the last vendor contract to be awarded next week.

Video of Senator Britt’s line of questioning can be found here, and high-quality video for media use can be downloaded here.