Barge traffic on the Illinois River continues to be obstructed by ice accumulations, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Illinois River locks are operational, but with the extremely low temperatures, barge operators report that traffic has often been stalled. So far this year, Ohio River grain barge movements have not been affected by the weather as much as traffic on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers, the USDA said. Ohio River Locks 52 reported 874,000 tons of grain through the first three weeks of January, significantly higher than Mississippi River Locks 27, which moved 527,000 tons.

Locks 27 downbound barge movements may be affected by rock removal work located below Locks 27. The Army Corps of Engineers has returned to the Thebes, Ill., area to make permanent improvements to the navigation channel of the Mississippi River by removing rock formations. Last year, the Corps successfully removed submerged rock formations that threatened navigation on the Mississippi River. The current rock removal process will be performed in daily 12- to 16-hour shifts except Sunday, USDA said. During rock removal work, barge traffic is restricted to daytime only and tows are limited to 15 barges.