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U. S. Funding Approved For St. Lawrence Work

The U. S. government’s St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. will soon kick off the first year of a 10-year program to modernize its share of the international waterway’s infrastructure.

The corporation announced March 12 that it will get US$31.8 million in 2009 through the omnibus appropriations bill that U. S. President Barack Obama signed the previous day. The bill directs the funding of the U. S. government for the remainder of fiscal 2009.

That includes over US$17 million allocated to 17 projects under the seaway’s asset renewal program (ARP). In fiscal 2009, much of the ARP funding will centre around work at the seaway’s two U. S. locks at Massena, N. Y., about 100 km southeast of Ottawa.

“After 50 years of continuous use, the U. S. seaway infrastructure needs significant capital investment,” said U. S. SLSDC administrator Collister Johnson, Jr. in a release March 12.

Over the next 10 years, the SLSDC said, its ARP will focus on “improving aging seaway infrastructure, conducting maintenance dredging, investing in new technologies, purchasing new equipment, and refurbishing old facilities.”

This will mark the first time in the seaway’s history that it will see a “co-ordinated effort” to repair and modernize the U. S. seaway infrastructure, the corporation said.

The U. S. ARP is also expected to complement the asset renewal work already underway on the Canadian portion of the seaway, the U. S. corporation said.

All that said, none of the ARP projects are intended to result in increases to the authorized depth or width of the channel, nor to the size of the existing U. S. locks, the U. S. corporation noted.

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