High water conditions slowing barge traffic

High water on the Upper Mississippi River is causing delays at some locks, according to the USDA’s Grain Transportation Report (GTR) released today. 

On May 15, the Mississippi River level at Locks and Dam 15 at Rock Island, Ill., was 16.7′ higher than the flood stage of 15′, the USDA said. According to the National Weather Service, normal levels at Rock Island are 9.5′ for this time of the year. In addition to the high-water problems, long-term repair work is slowing traffic at Melvin Price Locks and Dam (Locks and Dam 26) at East Alton, Ill. On May 15, there were delays of about two hours at Locks 26 for barges waiting to transit Melvin Price, according to the USDA.

During the week ending May 10, barge grain movements totaled 713,217 tons — 9.5% lower than the previous week but 126.5% higher than the same period last year. During the week ending May 10, 472 grain barges moved down river, down 7% from last week; 492 grain barges were unloaded in New Orleans, down 19.7% from the previous week, according to the GTR.

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