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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

12/05/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/05/2020 08:13

Heartland Corps celebrates ribbon cutting at Gasconade River Office and presents awards

Col. Bill Hannan, commander of the Kansas City District, presided over a ribbon cutting for a new work facility and presented awards at our Gasconade River Office location, near Hermann, Mo. and later presented awards at our Missouri River Area Office in Napoleon, Mo., Dec. 1, 2020.

The permanent building replaces temporary trailer facilities that go back at least 40 years. Vasquez Commercial Contracting, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., provided both the design and the build for a workplace for six workers with a conference area. Innovations include all LED lighting, ground source heat pump and durable tile flooring designed for heavy use areas with workers in muddy boots - like happens near the river.

'This facility is beautiful, efficient and the district greatly appreciates their excellent work,' said Hannan.

'This is a tremendous upgrade from the previous office and will provide decades of useful service,' said Brian McKown, River and Harbor Construction and Maintenance Supervisor, Missouri River Area Office, who supervises the personnel who work at Gasconade.

This building opening came at a time following three years of high water that challenged construction - the river flooded at least five times during construction, that the staff there and in all of our river offices have been engaged in emergency repairs to river structures. The repaired structures assist in keeping the navigation channel clear of sand and debris for commercial shipping on the Missouri River. Our shipping partners have reported numerous areas of concern where the water did not meet the statutory nine feet deep.

Col. Hannan and also our Northwestern Division Commander, Brig. Gen. Pete Helmlinger, approved the awards in recognition of outstanding work, dedication to duty and rising above the call of regular duty.

'This team came together and fought hard from July to the end of November to repair as many of the restrictions as we could before the end of flow support season. I want our navigation partners to be assured that Kansas City District will continue to do all we can to support navigation in our area. We understand the economic value that a dependable shipping channel brings to the Heartland,' said Hannan.

Col. Hannan presented three Meritorious Civilian Service Awards signed by Brig. Gen. Helmlinger; he awarded one Civilian Service Commendation Medal and 16 Civilian Service Achievement Medals to personnel who provided exemplary work to this critical effort during response to the emergency conditions of a restricted Missouri River Lower Basin navigation channel in the from July 2019 to December 2020.

Leadership of the district plans to recognize other important contributors to these efforts over time - River Engineering, Contracting and other divisions will have team members recognized.

The Omaha District, Rock Island District and U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center provided key resources and personnel during this time. From additional floating plants with crew to the ERDC hydrodynamic dredge put in operation for the first time in an inland waterway, the contributions from our Corps partners added significant leverage to making emergency repairs and clearing critical shipping lanes of sandy material.

Much work remains to be done - plans, designs, and contracting actions will continue through the late fall and winter and when flow support resumes in the spring, the Kansas City District will be ready to work on additional critical repairs as the available funding level allows.

More photos including individual awards at https://www.facebook.com/usace.kcd/posts/5000037033341606

The Kansas City District is a team of dedicated professionals with a strong heritage and proven results who, in collaboration with our partners, proudly serve the Heartland providing leadership, technical excellence, and innovative solutions to the nation's most complex problems.