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Rock Removal Activities Delaying Mississippi Barge Traffic

Will remove potential hazards to navigation that could stop traffic

On December 13, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) began rock removal dredging operations on the Mississippi River near Thebes, IL, in an area of the river 38 to 46 miles above the confluence of the Ohio River.

The Corps will remove potential hazards to navigation that could stop traffic during extremely low water events. The rocks (sometimes called “pinnacles”) became an issue starting in late 2012 through early 2013, when river levels were so low the submerged pinnacles could have prevented safe navigation in that area due to historically low drafts in that section of the river. During January 2013, partial rock removal operations and timely regional rainfall made water levels safe for navigation. However, due to the rainfall not all the planned rock removal could occur.

Because water levels have declined again to make the work possible, these operations are now being resumed by the Corps. Presently, the U.S. Coast Guard will stop all traffic while work is being done, which is during daylight hours, 7 days a week. During non-work hours at night, traffic will not be restricted.

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