CHICAGO Four locks on the Illinois River and eight locks
on the Mississippi River closed April 18 and 19 due to record
flooding, with at least two more closures imminent, as
shippers, barge and terminal operators secured their assets but
expected to encounter delays.
It was like something out of the Bible, Grossman
Iron & Steel Co. president Cap Grossman said of record
rainfall in the Midwest. Were holding our breath
The Illinois Rivers T.J. OBrien, Starved Rock,
Dresden Island and Marseilles lock and dams were closed, while
Locks 15 through 22 were closed on the upper Mississippi, a
spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock
Island District told AMM.
A lot of those (locks) will be reaching record flood
stages, some tonight, some tomorrow (April 19 and 20),
At the Marseilles lock and dam, the water was 6 inches above
the lock gate, flooding the surrounding area and forcing the
evacuation of Army Corps of Engineers staff.
Meanwhile, four barges sank while others crashed into the lock
at Marseilles when they broke loose from a tow.
Nine barges piled into the dam. Two were removed by
industry tows, four sunk (and) some are up against the
dam, the Rock Island District spokeswoman said.
Nothing is being done to secure the remaining barges
because its too dangerous, and the Army Corps of
Engineers isnt sure when it will be safe to send
engineers and divers in to assess the damage.
Keel Hunt, a spokesman for Nashville, Tenn.-based Ingram Barge
Co., confirmed that one of its boats was pushing 12 or 13
barges when there was a breakaway.
Activity is under way to corral them and stabilize
that, Hunt said, adding that there were no injuries.
We are experiencing flood-level waters all throughout the
Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers, U.S. Coast
Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty told AMM. The Coast Guard is
monitoring growing queues (of vessels) at the locks and dams
all throughout the Illinois and upper Mississippi rivers. Those
queues are growing, (but the goal is to) effectively facilitate
navigation, get products to market and keep the economy
The river north of us is already closed for
traffic, said Dan Becker of Venice, Ill.-based scrapyard
Becker Iron & Metal Inc. We anticipate the river to
be closed off by Sunday.
If flooding persists, it will interrupt barge traffic in
our area for the last week of April orders. If thats the
case and the market is anticipated to go down, orders may get
canceled and inbound supply to mills will take a hit,
said Becker, whose scrapyard is just north of St. Louis.
St. Louis-based scrapyard Grossman Iron and Steel isnt
getting many calls from customers about the impact of flooding
yet, but Cap Grossman surmised it will become a problem
for scrap collection and scrap flow throughout rural
We are in flood stage at the upper part of our district,
where the Illinois River comes in, said Mike Petersen,
spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis
District. We will shut down Locks 24 and 25.
The Mississippi River at St. Louis is 20 feet above where it
was last month, he said, and the shipping industry is
well aware of the closures.