Mississippi River traffic will continue

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

As 2012 ended, the threat was that the Mississippi River might be so low in the mid-Mississippi section from St. Louis, Mo., to Cairo, Ill., that all barge shipping would have to be stopped by Jan. 7, but the Army Corps of Engineers has kept the river open and claims it will not shut down shipping on this section of the river in the future.

Shipping is extremely slow because the river is only open eight hours per day through this section of the river, and the U.S. Coast Guard is reportedly doing traffic cop duty by alternating one-way barge traffic during those eight hours.

Rumors about the river being completely shut down one week to the next continue. And the National Weather Service hydrologists reportedly last week added fuel to the fire in conjunction with the Associated Press. The news service quoted the hydrologists as saying the river near Thebes, Ill., could drop below a point that a lightly loaded barge would not be able to navigate the river section, effectively stopping commerce on the river by Jan. 11. 

“There’s nothing pretty about this,” Coast Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty was quoted by the Washington Post as saying Jan. 4. “We are facing a historic drought. River levels are at record lows we haven’t seen since 1941. Over six weeks, the Army Corps has dredged record amounts of the river.”

But, Fogarty also is quoted as saying that the Mississippi will close are as reliable as doomsday projections “based on the Mayan calendar.”

A news release from the Corps as of Jan. 3 starts with a strong statement about the river definitely staying open. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to project river stages will sustain the authorized nine-foot deep commercial navigation channel between St. Louis, Mo., and Cairo, Ill. The Corps continues to apply all available capabilities and resources to keep the channel open.”

The Corps as of last week was somewhat optimistic that rain at runoff scale this week will hit the drainage area needed to help keep the river open.

“Additionally, the removal of rock obstructions will enable an approximately two-foot deeper channel in the Thebes reach of the river by January 11. Recent rains and water releases from the Corps’ Carlyle Lake in Illinois have improved the forecast for the Middle Mississippi River.

Based on the latest National Weather Service worst-case, "no rain" forecasts, river levels won’t reach five feet on the St. Louis gauge until mid-January. At that point, the rock formations at Thebes will be removed enough to prevent a negative impact to the 9-foot-deep navigation channel,” the Corps announced in its news release.

According to Mississippi Valley Division Commander, Maj. Gen. John Peabody, "The Corps' rock removal contractors are making excellent progress in removing the rock obstructions from the primary area of concern."

The Corps report is that contractors are removing an estimated 890 cubic yards of limestone from the river bottom primarily through excavation. This work addresses areas that are most negatively impacting navigation and shipping. But additional rock removal is planned for later in 2013.

"We believe we will deepen the channel ahead of the worst-case river stage scenario, and I remain confident that navigation will continue," Peabody said.

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (1) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Iowa City  |  January, 09, 2013 at 12:36 PM

I think the barge companies should pay for removing the rock, not taxpayers. The barge traffic is a for profit venture and I object to subsidizing it.

1325 Bushel Grain Cart

Equipped with a 22” computer balanced auger with 5/16” flighting,the unloading speed is 50% faster than smaller grain carts with ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form