Army Corps: Low Mississippi River levels likely to persist into fall

View full sizeRogelio V. Solis / APSome lightly loaded river traffic, such as this set of barges and towboat moving south near Greenville, Miss., still moves along the Mississippi River on Tuesday. However, officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say low water levels that are restricting shipping traffic, forcing harbor closures and causing towboats and barges to run aground are expected to continue into October.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Low water levels that are restricting shipping traffic, forcing harbor closures and causing barges to run aground on the economically vital Mississippi River are expected to continue into October, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, more than 100 tow boats and barges remain backed up near Greenville, Miss. due to the low river. The U.S. Coast Guard opened an 11-mile stretch of river that had been closed near Greenville, replacing it with a 5-mile zone where only lighter vessels can pass.

Speaking at a meeting of Corps officials, water control managers and business people in Memphis, Major Gen. John W. Peabody said that five harbors in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi are closed, and several others have limited access due to low water levels along the nations most important inland waterway.

Peabody, commander of the Corps Mississippi Valley Division, said the Corps plans to dredge those harbors as soon as it can to allow tow boats and barges to enter and get close enough to docks to unload their mater....

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