Barge transportation on the Mississippi River system may return to normal operating conditions by the end of July. That’s what most barge transportation analysts are saying in the aftermath of floods that plagued the American Midwest and the Mississippi River basin for most of the spring and early summer.
All of the locks that were previously closed due to flood conditions have been reopened but persistent high water and fast currents continue to play havoc with normal barge operations in some important sections of the waterway system. Specifically, a sunken barge in the vicinity of Rock Island, IL has created a one-way traffic restriction in that part of the system while farther south, near Baton Rouge, LA maximum barge tow sizes and high tug power rating restrictions have been place on commercial navigation in that section of the river due to extraordinarily fast currents. These restrictions are not expected to be lifted before July 26.
Readers of The Seaway Channel, in a poll conducted from June 23-30 correctly predicted that this year’s flooding would create problems on the Mississippi that might persist for at least four weeks. As things have turned out, our readers have been proven right once again.