Mat Sinking Unit completes the 2020 season

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit completed its 2020 revetment season March 4.

The Mat Sinking Unit placed approximately 266,000 squares of articulated concrete squares, also known as revetment, along the Mississippi River before its return to the Vicksburg Harbor on March 6 after 230 days of deployment, the second longest deployment in 25 years.

Combined, the mats would cover roughly 600 acres. In contrast, over 167,000 squares were placed during last year’s season before early termination due to high water conditions.

Revetment prevents riverbank erosion, protects flood control structures and provides reliable waterways for commercial navigation.

“We are incredibly proud of our crew for completing a phenomenal season despite unprecedented circumstances,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “Their months of dedication exemplify the district’s unwavering commitment to this vital mission and its ability to adapt to fluid situations.”

Unparalleled across the world, the Mat Sinking Unit is a feat of skilled labor and technological innovation. A mat sinking barge, a mat supply barge, quarter barges, spar barges, gantry cranes, bulldozers and motor vessels are among the equipment used by the unit to help maintain the Mississippi River’s stabilization and navigation.

The unit acts as a floating city during revetment season and provides lodging and dining for its crew members, who typically work 10-hour shifts and 12-consecutive-day work periods to execute the mission.

The unit has been essential to the district’s revetment mission for over seven decades and will continue to deliver navigation and flood risk management benefits until it is replaced by Armor 1’s cutting-edge technology in 2023.

Photo: USACE