The River Ice Management (RIM) Program: Developing New Options for Waterways Operations in Winter

by Kevin L. Carey, US Army Cold Regions Research and, Engineering, Hanover, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Cold Regions Engineering


Most of the navigable inland waterways of the United States are utilized year-round. In northern portions of this network (mainly parts of the Ohio and Upper Mississippi River basins), ice reduces transportation efficiency and interfaces with the operation of Corps of Engineers locks and dams. In parallel with Corps programs for rehabilitation or replacement of certain aging and inadequate locks and dams (averaging about 50 years old), the Corps' five-year River Ice Management (RIM) Program developed ways to incorporate structural improvements in new and existing navigation projects, and examined new operational techniques, all aimed at improving waterway operations in the presence of ice. RIM Program studies focused on four functional areas: a) improving ice-conditions information to aid decision-making by the Corps and the navigation industry; b) helping locks and dams cope with ice in winter operations; c) influencing river ice formation and movement; and d) easing winter navigation operations in the vicinity of Corps projects. Several RIM Program demonstrations provided immediate improvements to winter operations. An Engineer Manual was produced giving uniform direction to Corps Districts in matters involving river ice, and containing guidance for studies leading to River Ice Management Plans for specific basins, mainstem rivers, or tributaries.

Subject Headings: Ice | Rivers and streams | Winter | Waterways | High-rise buildings | Navigation (waterway) | United States Army Corps of Engineers | Locks (waterway) | United States | Ohio | Mississippi River

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