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Proposed Closing of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock, MN

 

In an effort to halt the upriver movement of the Asian carp, a harmful invasive species, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Congress proposed to close the Upper Lock at St. Anthony Falls. This closure would curtail barge traffic to the Upper Riverfront in Minneapolis and effectively cease operations at the river’s Upper Harbor Terminal. Therefore, the Metropolitan Council of the Twin cities commenced a study to investigate the regional economic effects of potentially closing the Upper Lock at St. Anthony Falls. This study analyzed the changes in the transportation system and elements of the supply chain, identified anticipated business adaptations to these changes, and described the effect of these changes on:

  • The state economy, including average annual output, wage income, jobs and value-added
  • The sectors and businesses that use the commodities shipped through the locks
  • The businesses that use the locks and their employees
  • Recreational users, organizations and businesses

In order to conduct the economic impact analysis, this study used the TREDIS software along with IMPLAN and a regional travel model. The study found that the discontinued use of the lock would require changes in the distribution network of these businesses and industries:

  • Shifting commodity movement from barge to truck
  • Creating additional transportation and material handling costs for these businesses/industries
  • Stimulating new capital investment to adapt to these changes
  • Increasing truck traffic and related societal impacts
  • Creating changes in employment

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