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Barge Traffic Picks Up

Warmer temperatures have allowed for more grain barge traffic.

Barge traffic is increasing on Midwestern rivers thanks to warmer weather in late February, Dow Jones Newswires reports. Some parts of the formerly ice-bound Illinois River have thawed enough for traffic to resume, and grain merchants said Friday that navigation conditions are improved on the Ohio and MississippiRivers as well.

Northern areas of the Illinois River are still limited with lock restrictions in effect, but one grain merchandiser about 60 miles upstream of the Illinois River's meeting with the Mississippi says barges are finally moving through the locks again.

With ice no more than 1-2 inches thick on most parts of the Ohio River, last week's three hour-long delays at locks are down to less than one hour, and facility officials said on an industry bulletin board Wednesday that the Mississippi River's Lock 27, just north of St. Louis, "is now clear of ice and all mooring bits are no longer frozen."

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