High water to close locks

High water on the Mississippi River has forced the American Queen Steamboat Co. to change the American Queen’s July 5 and 13 itineraries to the Ohio River and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close six locks.

Instead of sailing between St. Louis and St. Paul, Minn., the paddlewheeler will sail between St. Louis and Cincinnati, stopping at Chester, Ill.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Paducah, Henderson, and Louisville, Ky., and Madison, Ind.

“Delivering a safe, predictable cruise itinerary for our guests is a priority and sometimes river conditions are outside our control,” said Ted Sykes, president of the Memphis, Tenn.-based company. Passengers on the two cruises can rebook a 2013 cruise for no additional fee or keep their plans and receive a $500 credit per stateroom for a future voyage.

The Corps Rock Island (Ill.) District Wednesday said the lock closures were necessary as the river overtops gates making the locks inoperable. Locks expected to close are: Lock 16 – Illinois City, Ill. (6/28); Lock 17 – New Boston, Ill. (6/28); Lock 18 – Gladstone, Ill. (6/29); Lock 20 – Canton, Mo. (6/30); Lock 21 – Quincy, Ill. (7/2); and Lock 22 – Saverton, Mo. (7/1).

The Rock Island District also has activated its Emergency Operations Center for the third time since April in response to recent heavy rains and the National Weather Service forecasts predicting the potential for major flooding in areas along the Upper Mississippi and tributaries.

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