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. Several viewing platforms are available to enhance the view at the Illinois Esplanade Park.