EAST ALTON - The US Army Corps of Engineers, Rivers Project Office, reopened the top of Melvin Price Locks and Dam to public tours at the end of November.

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The National Great Rivers Museum has a long history of providing free public tours of the adjacent Melvin Price Locks and Dam. But, Beginning in march of 2020, public tours were modified to stay on ground level, as the elevator ride to the top of the structure was excluded from the tour for COVID safety reasons. Now, for the first time in 20 months, the public has once again been able to view the Mississippi River and barge traffic from this one-of-a-kind vantage point while they learn about the purpose of the locks and dam systems and the importance of navigation on the river.

"This is something we are very pleased to be able to once again offer our community," said Museum Director Allison Rhanor. "While we've continued to offer modified tours, being able to tour the top of Mel Price really adds to the experience we're able to give our visitors."

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Melvin Price Locks and Dam is the last structure of its kind on the Mississippi River, as the locks and dam system ends after the Chain of Rocks canal. This, coupled with the fact that Melvin Price is the newest locks and dam on the river, makes it an ideal location to learn more about river navigation and river systems in general.

"Melvin Price tours have been a staple in our region for quite some time, so we are so excited to welcome everyone back for the full Mel Price experience. We had received a lot of phone calls asking when tours were going back up top. Our Rangers are looking forward to seeing everyone."

The National Great Rivers Museum is located at 2 Locks and Dam Way, East Alton, Illinois, and is open seven days a week, excluding only Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Hours of operation are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and public tours are offered at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm daily.

For more information, please call the National Great Rivers Museum at 618-462-6979.

This story originally appeared in thebuzzmonthly.com December 2021 issue.

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