July 10, 2008
The Army Corps of Engineers opened the last of the closed locks on the Upper Mississippi River last weekend and barge traffic has resumed. However the three weeks that the river was closed has backed up shipping on the river and it will take some time for traffic to get back to normal. Tom Torretti with Cooper Consolidated in St. Louis says it's hard to tell how long it will take, but he estimates it will be 30 to 45 days.
"It will be different in different locations," Torretti says. "It may be less than that because the river is dropping; it dropped two feet overnight here in St. Louis and even if we get some more rain the river will be able absorb it."
But Torretti says that in some areas it could be much longer than that as elevators and docks in many areas are still cleaning up from flooding.
"I think each individual facility on the upper river has its own set of issues. So if that's the case barges do get to destination and sit before they get unloaded," Torretti says. "You know those river towns certainly in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri that were unfortunately hammered; they've got a lot of work ahead of them, let's put it that way."
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