Snow melt & rain has been helping barge traffic - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Snow melt & rain has been helping barge traffic


The snowmelt and rain this week has been good news for barge traffic on the Mississippi River.

Between Saturday and Tuesday, the Mississippi River rose more than 2.5 feet in Dubuque and 4.5 feet in Rock Island, according to the National Weather Service.

Officials with the Alter Logistics barge line company tell KWQC-TV that has allowed them to load for a larger draft. A "draft" is defined by as the "vertical distance between a ship's waterline and the lowest point of its keel". This week's rain has given Alter Logistics barges an extra foot of draft, which makes a huge difference. Every six inches of increased draft amounts to a roughly 108 ton increase in the cargo each barge can carry.

For some areas of the Mississippi this was especially good news because the Army Corps of Engineers had to do a lot of dredging and removal of rock outcroppings to keep the river open to barge traffic recently.

"If we were to resume the dry pattern that we were in last year, last summer, those conditions could come up again, but for the forseeable future, those navigation issues have subsided,"Jim Stiman with the Army Corps of Engineers said.

Experts say the Mississippi River shipping industry should be in good shape for the next few weeks.


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