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Highwater Causes Multiple Lock Closures on Upper Mississippi River

Mississippi River is closed at Louisiana, MO

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According to the USDA Grain Transportation Report, heavy rains and the start of seasonal run-off from the melting of snow and ice have raised river levels throughout the central U.S.

As of March 20, the following Mississippi River locks are closed: Lock 16, Lock 17, Lock 18, Lock 20, and Lock 22.

In addition, the Mississippi River is closed at Louisiana, MO, where the rising river levels prevents barge passage under a bridge that spans the river.

There was a significant rebound in Ohio River barge traffic, as Smithland Lock and Dam (L&D) reopened on March 9.

The Smithland reopening allows continuous down-bound traffic to Olmsted L&D, which had no grain barge traffic for the last two weeks.

Grain barge traffic at Olmsted for the week ending March 16 was 427 thousand tons, the highest weekly volume for 2019. However, during the same time period, there were only 466 grain barges unloaded in the New Orleans region, which have declined for five consecutive weeks and this week reached their lowest level since late May 2016.

The reduced number of barges being unloaded in New Orleans is due to poor navigation conditions.

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