Every year, millions of tons of commodities pass through the Melvin Price
Locks and Dam. The facility is located south of the majestic Clark Bridge
near Alton, Illinois on the Upper Mississippi River at river mile 200.78, two
miles downstream from the original Lock and Dam No. 26. The Melvin Price Locks
and Dam help to control the flow of the Mississippi and is the means by which
barges are able to navigate the river.
This is the first replacement structure on the Upper Mississippi River
nine-foot navigation project. Construction of the Locks and Dam began in 1978
and was completed in 1994. The dam is 1,160 feet long, with
9 tainter gates, each 110 feet wide by 42 feet high. There are two lock chambers
at Melvin Price. The main chamber is 1,200 feet long by 110 feet wide. The
auxiliary chamber is 600 feet long by 110 feet wide.
Visitors can watch river craft use the locks and free
tours are conducted daily. Sign up for tours at the information desk in the National
Great Rivers Museum. Call ahead for tour times. Bald Eagles can be seen during the winter months from December through March.
The Melvin Price Locks and Dam is listed on the National Audubon Society's
River Birding Trail. They report that this is one of the best places
to view large number of gulls, above and below the locks and dam. Expect 7 or
more species, including rarities like Glaucous, Iceland, Great Black-backed, and
Lesser Black-backed, on a good day.
How the Melvin Price Locks Work
Visiting the Melvin Price Locks & Dam
Open daily 9 am - 5 pm
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
There is no charge to visit the Melvin Price Locks
Directions: The Melvin Price Locks and Dam is located on IL-143 (the
Great River Road) south of the Clark Bridge between the communities of Alton and
Learn more about the and Alton and Wood
Regional Locks and Dams -
Get more information on the Locks and Dams in the Middle Mississippi
River Valley from Lock and Dam No.19 in Keokuk, Iowa to and Lock and Dam No.
27 in Granite City, Illinois just north of St. Louis.
Through The Locks: "Locking Through" is the term used to describe
the process of navigating a vessel through the lock.