CHICAGO The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rock
removal efforts on the Mississippi River have been expanded to
Grand Tower, Ill., about 31 miles north of Thebes, Ill.
The agency was given permission to accelerate work to remove
obstacles in the river that have been uncovered by low water
levels due to the Midwest drought that began last summer.
Operators of 9-foot-draft vessels and the shippers they service
have had to reduce loads by up to one-half, sending costs
soaring for shippers of such commodities as ferrous scrap,
steel, metallurgical coal and limestone (
amm.com, Jan. 9
Rock removal at Grand Tower began Jan. 29. To ensure safety
during the blasting work, the U.S. Coast Guard has implemented
nightly closures of the channel there from midnight to noon
through Feb. 8.
The Grand Tower project will yield permanent improvements
to the Mississippi, Col. Chris Hall, commander of the
Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District, said in a
Work that began at Thebes on Dec. 17 has been extended to about
Feb. 5 because the contractor discovered additional rock
formations beneath the river sediment.
The Army Corps of Engineers has been dredging between St. Louis
and Cairo, Ill., since July to preserve depth and width.
The total amount of cargo transferred through the two locks
closest to the blast-work sites declined year over year in
December and in full-year 2012, compared with tonnages in the
corresponding 2011 periods, statistics from the Army Corps of
Tons shipped through Mississippi Lock and Dam 25 fell 23
percent in December vs. the year-prior period, while total 2012
shipments fell 3.8 percent.
Tons passing through the Chain of Rocks Lock in December were
off 22.1 percent year over year, while annual volume was off