The Mel Price Lock & Dam in East Alton is going through some upgrades, as a cable recently snapped on the vertical lift gate in the 1200 foot long main chamber. While that is being fixed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the luxury of still being able to lock through barge traffic in the back-up chamber, which is actually about the same size as some of the older locks on the Mississippi.
Park Ranger Erin Hilligoss-Volkman says that gives visitors an up-close look at the tows as they travel the river.
Click here for Hilligoss-Volkman's comments
She says to split up the tows slows down the process significantly, which could cause a more serious traffic back-up during the peak shipping times in the spring and fall.