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    UW-Platteville ASCE Students Visit Lock and Dam 11

    UW-Platteville ASCE Students Visit Lock and Dam 11

    Photo By James Finn | Lock and Dam 11 Lockmaster Gary Kilburg (left) explains the dewatering process to a...... read more read more

    DUBUQUE, IA, UNITED STATES

    03.14.2019

    Story by James Finn 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District

    Recently, a group of students with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) chapter got an inside look at Lock and Dam 11 in Dubuque, Iowa, while it was dewatered for winter maintenance. The tour was led by Civil Engineer Erica Stephens, Lock and Dam 11 Lockmaster Gary Kilburg and Construction Project Engineer Charles Bauer.

    While touring the dewatered lock, students learned about how winter maintenance at Rock Island District locks is critical to keeping aging infrastructure up and running. Getting to walk on the bottom of the lock chamber was a unique experience for the students as very few people outside of the Corps and its contractors ever get to visit the inside of a dewatered lock.

    “As an engineer, it is important to see what is going on in a construction zone,” said UWP ASCE Student President-Elect Benjamin Mack. “As an engineering student, we can read blueprints and create certain structures, but the construction aspect is a bit harder to understand with the limited experience we have received.”

    The work performed during this winter’s maintenance project at Lock and Dam 11 included drilling relief wells, placing caps on the new relief wells, demolishing embedded miter gate anchorages and placing new anchorage plates.

    During their visit to the lock, students got an eagle eye view of the dewatered lock chamber from the site’s observation deck and learned why relief wells are needed for the lock to be dewatered safely. After the overview from above, students split into two groups and traveled down into the dewatered lock chamber for a rare look inside.

    Providing tours of the dewatered lock is not something the Corps regularly offers to the public but Civil Engineer Erica Stephens saw it as an opportunity to showcase the Corps’ work.

    “As a UWP graduate and ASCE member myself, I thought it would be a good opportunity for the students to see real world application of what they are learning in the classroom,” Stephens said. “It makes students aware of what kind of work the Rock Island District does and the benefits we provide to the public.”

    When asked what the students get out of tours like this, Mack said that the real world engineering examples are the biggest benefit of the trip along with speaking to the folks on the ground.

    “Talking with experienced professionals about what is going on in the jobsite helps just a bit more when creating a certain structure, especially for the efficiency of constructability,” Mack said.

    The UWP ASCE chapter includes over 200 students with about 50-75 of those students maintaining an active role in the group.

    In addition to attending meetings and tours like the one at Lock and Dam 11, the group competes in competitions like concrete canoe building and steel bridge building. They also attend many K-12 outreach programs where they go to schools and present about Civil Engineering and ASCE, and they participate in a once-per-semester highway cleanup along designated routes.

    While the ASCE chapter stays busy throughout the year, the tour of the dewatered lock provided a unique experience that extended beyond their typical goal of acquiring engineering information and allowed them a chance to step back in history a bit.

    “The group was very excited for this opportunity and we all left amazed,” Mack said. “After the tour, we had the chance to look at photos of the lock and dam construction in the 1930s and these photos were quite amazing. Compared to the machinery they used in the 30s, the equipment that we have now is far superior.”

    Not only was this an opportunity for the students of UWP, but Corps employees benefited from the tour as well.

    “It is a great opportunity to get to know engineering students and to promote a career that is very rewarding,” Stephens said when asked about benefits of these tours. “I love being able to discuss with them how the material they are learning in college will ultimately be applied in their careers.”

    With winter coming to an end across the Rock Island District, Lock and Dam 11 has re-opened and is ready for the first barge and tow of the 2019 season to come through when the weather allows.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 03.14.2019
    Date Posted: 03.14.2019 16:27
    Story ID: 314252
    Location: DUBUQUE, IA, US 

    Web Views: 19
    Downloads: 0
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