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River barge tows

High water disrupts navigation across much of Mississippi

Barge to sizes will likely be restricted for several weeks.

Heavy rainfall, from the middle to lower Mississippi River Valley eastward across much of the Ohio River Basin, has resulted in widespread river flooding along Cincinnati, Cairo, Memphis, and other locations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported in its latest “Grain Transportation Report.”

“High water has caused navigation disruptions on sections of the Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, and Arkansas Rivers. In response, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) closed the Markland Locks, McAlpine Locks, and Smithland Locks,” USDA noted.

Large volumes of water from the aforementioned rivers are flowing into the Mississippi River and causing its lower portion to reach flood stage at multiple locations, the agency added.

“Barge tow sizes have been reduced from 40 to 30 barges on the lower Mississippi River, and will likely be restricted for several weeks.”

Barge traffic has also also restricted to daylight passage at Vicksburg and Memphis. USDA said River restrictions are set by the Waterway Action Plan, a joint effort of the U.S. Coast Guard, Corps, and senior leaders of the towing industry.

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