Although the St. Lawrence Seaway has been open for the 2013 navigation season for more than a month, there's terrific news today as our Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation takes stock of its off-season infrastructure modernization.
The SLSDC announced that this past winter’s Asset Renewal Program work was accident-free.
For infrastructure work spanning January through March, there were zero hours lost to safety-related incidents. During that time, three major construction projects were completed at the U.S. Seaway with no time lost to safety incidents. Sustained over nearly 130,000 work hours in harsh winter conditions, that's a pretty good achievement.
It's a testament to the Seaway’s effective safety protocols and to DOT's pursuit of our number one priority, safety--not just in transportation, but also in the critical work that supports our nation's transportation system.
“This past winter was the busiest time at the U.S. Seaway locks since their construction in the 1950s,” said SLSDC Acting Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook. “Our staff worked collaboratively with contractors to ensure that intensive timelines and milestones were met at every step along the way to get these important projects completed safely prior to the Seaway’s opening.”
In addition to keeping the Seaway in good operating order to support important commerce, winter work is an economic engine of its own. More than 70 percent of the ARP funds obligated during the program’s first four years--nearly $48 million--were awarded to firms in the Upstate New York region. In addition to these contracts, the ARP is producing approximately $2.5 million in additional economic benefits to the region each year.
The 2013 winter work included some of the most crucial, difficult, and labor intensive activity since the ARP began in 2009, and the seven contractor firms worked around-the-clock with SLSDC staff to complete the work. Major projects completed at the U.S. locks in Massena, NY, included the installation of a new ice flushing system at Snell Lock, rehabilitation of the downstream Eisenhower Lock miter gate, and hydraulic upgrades of culvert valve machinery at both locks.
All of the scheduled ARP projects, as well as numerous other winter maintenance projects undertaken by SLSDC crews were completed on time.
On schedule and incident-free. That's a track record that will help the Seaway do its part to advance President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports.
Congratulations to Acting Administrator Middlebrook and everyone who had a hand in this important safety achievement.