Army Corps of Engineers
Missouri’s two U.S. senators are continuing their push for completion of a project to close a 1,500-foot gap in a Mississippi River levee.
The Army Corps of Engineers has been using two dredges, one from Memphis, Tenn., the other from St. Louis, to help keep the river channel clear.
To keep the channel open, the corps used dredging barges and explosives to remove rock pinnacles in the river near Thebes, Ill.
Yesterday morning, a barge became caught, forcing the Corps of Engineers to shut down a lock and dam that handles roughly half the nation’s farm exports.
The corps used explosives at the three points on the levee in May 2011 as floodwaters threatened nearby Cairo, Ill.
Two members of the Illinois congressional delegation got a firsthand look at urgent efforts to clear the Mississippi River bedrock that’s crimping shipping and say they’re closely monitoring the situation on the waterway.
The change is not expected to make much difference in water levels downstream in the Missouri or Mississippi rivers.
The corps has hired contractors to use explosives to remove the pinnacles that stretch over about six miles near Thebes, Ill.
Barge operators along a key stretch of the Mississippi River braced Monday for months of restricted shipping as crews prepared to begin blasting large rock formations that are impeding navigation on the drought-plagued waterway.
A spokesman said there will be dredging operations on the river that will allow for deep enough channels, regardless of how low the water gets.
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