The Coast Guard has reopened the Mississippi River at Locks & Dam 27 near Granite City, Ill., after a fuel spill shut the area on Thursday evening.
According to the Coast Guard, the 128'x42'x9.5' towing vessel Gregory David was transiting the locks and dam — a major transit point for cargo — and was damaged, causing a 20,000-gal. fuel tank to rupture.
The agency said the spilled fuel was reportedly contained in the locks and dam, and that clean-up operations were completed on Friday. The Gregory David is owned by Steel City Marine Transport Inc., Freedom, Pa.
The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers, Locks & Dam 27 moves more cargo than any other navigation structure on the Mississippi River because of its position as the last locks on the river.
Located near the southern end of the 8.4-mile, man-made Chain of Rocks Canal, the locks opened in February 1953. They were built to create a safe, reliable navigation passage for vessels to avoid the Chain of Rocks Reach, a 17-mile series of rock ledges that begin just north of St. Louis. These locks are the only locks on the Upper Mississippi River that are not directly attached to their respective dam, which is located several miles away on the river.
The dam is also unusual because it is not movable. While all other dams were built to be moved to adjust according to changing water levels, the 2,500’ low-water Dam 27 extends across the length of the river and is designed to provide additional water depth at the lower gate sills of Lock 26. Dam 27 opened in 1964 and has virtually no impact upon operations within the Chain of Rocks Canal or at Locks 27.
Locks & Dam 27 has a 27.8 mi. pool length. The main chamber is 1,200’ long and 110’ wide, while the auxiliary chamber is 600’x110’.