Barge companies are choosing to lighten their loads in order to safely navigate the Mississippi River. Months of drought have left the river at critically low levels, something lawmakers discussed Monday in East Alton. Companies have decreased barge capacity to about 50 or 60 percent so they don't ride so low in the water and can make it through shallower channels.
That is just one of many fixes being implemented to deal with the low river levels on the Mississippi. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin convened the meeting yesterday in East Alton, at which he said the president is personally engaged in the situation. Congressman John Shimkus says he is aware of the impact if conditions worsen.
Fellow Congressman Jerry Costello:
Work begins today to remove granite pinnacles in a 15 mile stretch of the river near Thebes. During the demolition, the river will be open to traffic only 8 hours each day. The water is 20 feet below normal between St. Louis and Cairo.