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Mississippi Lock Closure Could Hit Chicago

SHARE Mississippi Lock Closure Could Hit Chicago

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says flooding will force it to shut down locks along a 150-mile stretch of the Mississippi River. This could mean delays for barge traffic heading to Chicago.

The locks slated for closure lie north of where the Illinois River meets the Mississippi. Some local barge operators say that means they shouldn’t be hurt by the closure.

But the American Waterways Operators, an industry group, says there will be an impact on the region. The association’s Lynn Muench says barges generally carry grain from the upper midwest down-river to New Orleans, where they’re unloaded for export.

MUENCH: Those barges would then be filled with things like coal, steel, concrete, etcetera and sent up to Chicago.

But if the barges get stopped on the upper Mississippi - as will happen for the next several weeks - their trip from New Orleans to Chicago will be delayed.

MUENCH: So it really is a system problem, even though it’s not going to directly impact Illinois.

Muench puts the cost to the barge industry in the millions.

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