State Outlines Plans to Upgrade McHenry Dam

Article excerpt

Byline: Lenore T. Adkins

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has decided how to proceed with upgrading the Stratton Lock and Dam in McHenry.

The state agency will embark on a $7.9 million torque tube gate project for the dam and a $4.3 million boat lock extension project.

On Monday night, three IDNR representatives presented their to 37 people gathered for a public meeting at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake.

The lock and dam, named after former Illinois Gov. William Stratton, has two parts -- the gates that control the flow of the river from the Chain O' Lakes and upper Fox River to the lower river, and the lock that lets boaters go from one side of the dam to the other.

They are used to control the height of the Fox River and the Chain O' Lakes above and below the dam.

The dam's five, 14-foot sluice gates are under a steel-and-concrete walkway on the western half of the river and, at 73 years old, they're way past their prime.

As part of the project, the state agency would replace the sluice gates with three torque tube gates that would be 28 feet wide, offering the same level of hydraulics as the ones already in place. Because the water runs over the top of torque tube gates, the state agency's ice management would be minimal, said Rita Lee, an IDNR hydraulist. …