BEARDSTOWN, Ill. (AP) — Nearly $60 million in federal money has been set aside to repair a lock on the Illinois River deemed vital for barges carrying agricultural goods to market.

Two Illinois representatives in the U.S. House announced the funding for the LaGrange Lock and Dam. An initial $10 million was allotted earlier to begin renovating the central Illinois facility south of Beardstown.

The 79-year-old lock last underwent major repair work in 1988. A statement from the congressmen said roughly 60 percent of U.S. grain exports move through locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers, including LaGrange.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said frequent shutdowns at LaGrange hurt the region’s economy. Fellow Republican Rep. Darin LaHood said repairs are needed “to ensure products can move ... efficiently around the world.”

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