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High water levels decrease barge traffic on Mississippi River

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Commercial barges cannot make the trek across the Mississippi River because high water levels cause several lock and dams to remain closed.

Lock and Dam Number 7 in La Crosse is open and not affected by high waters currently. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that about 10 lock and dams downstream are still closed due to high waters. Therefore, barges cannot travel up to transport necessary goods like cement, fuel or coal.

The high water levels also force the Army Corps of Engineers to plan for extra sediment clean-up.

“We’re going to be doing a lot more dredging than we normally do this time of year,” George Stringham of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District said. “Normally when we first start dredging, early in the navigation season, we have 3 to 5 place that we know we’re going to need to hit immediately first off. This year from our surveys we saw 12 to 14 places.”

Companies on land really need the river levels to go down, so they can receive their shipments and stay in operation. Meanwhile, the Army Corps needs it to go down slowly so the extra sediment build up does not become a hazard.

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Marcus Aarsvold

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