CHICAGO The U.S. Coast
Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have begun taking
steps to get Mississippi River traffic moving again as
floodwaters began to recede.
The Coast Guards Upper
Mississippi River sector, after consulting with vessel
operators and shippers, reopened a five-mile stretch of the
river to southbound commercial traffic between mile markers 179
and 184. That lane was closed June 3 after a "drift" of trees
made navigation dangerous to vessel operations (
amm.com, June 5). Northbound traffic resumed the
The Army Corps of
Engineers St. Louis District reopened Lock 24 at
Clarksville, Mo., and the Chain of Rocks Lock and Dam 27 at
Granite City, Ill. Locks 24 and 25 were closed May 31 in
anticipation of the high water, and Lock 27 was closed June 2
as flooding neared record levels.
Water levels at Lock 25 in
Winfield, Mo., and the Kaskaskia River Lock and Dam are not low
enough yet to reopen.
The Army Corps of Engineers said
the closures were essential to protect critical components and
facilities and enable agencies to restore services quickly and
economically after water levels drop.
Since the closures, the official
queue waiting to pass through the affected section had grown to
eight tug- or towboats moving 63 barges, but the actual number
likely was much higher, the Army Corps of Engineers said, as
most shippers and barge lines moored their vessels elsewhere
along the river in anticipation of the flooding.
The reopenings mark "another
point of success in a year of challenging conditions," said
Coast Guard Capt. Byron Black, commander of the Upper