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Corps of Engineers starts hauling sand near Winona

The Corps will move 50,000 cubic feet of dredge material 5 miles up Winona County Road 15 by Christmas.

Homer Temporary Site.png
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will move 50,000 cubic yards of dredge material from the temporary storage site near Homer, red outlined section, 5 miles up Winona County Road 15 to a quarry site beginning this week. Courtesy Winona County
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WINONA — Residents along Winona County Road 15 will need to be ready for trucks rumbling from a 56,000-cubic-yard pile near Homer to a storage site 5 miles up the road.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will move 50,000 cubic yards of dredge material taken from beginning this week and up to Christmas to a permanent storage site away from the river. The Corps will use 150 truckloads a day – 300 trips in each direction – to move the sand at approximately 17 cubic yards per trip to the new site.

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The Homer placement site next to the Mississippi River holds about 100,000 cubic yards total, and the Corps pulls anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 cubic yards from Pool 6, which extends upriver from Lock and Dam 6 near Trempealeau, Wis., to Lock and Dam 5A near Goodview.

"If we want to dredge again, we need space," said Shannon Bauer, a spokeswoman with the Corps.

Yeadke Quarry is the inland storage site 5 miles west on CR 15. The work will re-establish storage capacity that was exhausted due to the dredging operations this summer when Corps contractors removed nearly 56,000 cubic yards of river sand from the Mississippi River navigation channel to the Homer site.

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This is the first time the Yeadke site has been used, Bauer said.

"The trucking operations, while not ideal, provides the necessary time for us to work with city and county leaders on the long-term plan," said Bob Edstrom, St. Paul District project manager. "We are trying to be a good neighbor, but our options are extremely limited at this point and our congressional mandate to maintain the channel requires us to ensure we have storage capacity for the next time we dredge near the city."

The Mississippi River navigation channel is a major grain transportation conduit in the Upper Midwest. Grain producers save approximately $1 per bushel when shipping corn and soybeans via the river compared to alternative transportation modes, according to the Corps. This saves nearly $430 million from Minneapolis to Lock and Dam 10, in Guttenberg, Iowa.

In 2020, for example, Lock and Dam 6 saw more than 2,100 lockages that amounted to the movement of more than 12.4 million tons of commodities, which would require nearly 500,000 trucks to move the same amount of material.

Brian Todd is the news editor at the Post Bulletin. When not at work, he spends time with his family, roots for the Houston Astros and watches his miniature dachshund sleep, which is why that dog is more bratwurst than hotdog. Readers can reach Brian at 507-285-7715 or btodd@postbulletin.com.
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