ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – After ominous predictions that the Mighty Mississippi would soon be closed to barge traffic, the Corps of Engineers is now saying that work they’ve done to remove large rocks from the shipping channel should keep the river open right through to spring.
Corps officials announced over the weekend that expedited work to remove rocks near Thebes Illinois will keep that critical 9-foot channel open.
KMOX asked Debra Colbert with the Waterways Council, one of the groups that has sounded the warning about a possible shutdown, for her assessment and she mostly agrees that things are better now.
However she adds, “I think what we need to focus on is the fact that the economic damage from this crisis, whether there was a complete closure or not has indeed been felt.”
Corps officials do admit that barge traffic at Thebes has been limited to eight hours a day, creating bottlenecks on the Mississippi.