ST. LOUIS – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District will provide an opportunity for a no-cost public tour aboard the region's largest diesel towboat, the Motor Vessel Mississippi, in Alton in early August. The towboat will be at the Melvin Price Locks and Dam from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 7, 2021 with an open house.

The Corps of Engineers said for safety and COVID-19 concerns, groups will be limited to 10, first come first serve, with a maximum limit of 80 visitors allowed onboard at any time while all will be required to wear a mask and temperature checks may be required.

The other public open house of the MV Mississippi will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, August 6, along the riverfront in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

The MV MISSISSIPPI is 241-feet long and 58-feet wide. The 6,300 horsepower vessel serves as a working towboat 90 percent of the time. The vessel houses 22 staterooms, a dining room that seats 85 and a conference room that seats 115 people. The Mississippi River Commission flagship can accommodate 150 passengers.

"The vessel’s primary mission is to move barges in support of bank stabilization work on the lower Mississippi River," the Corps of Engineers said. "Each spring and late summer, the MRC conducts a series of public meetings aboard the vessel."

The MRC, established in 1879, uses the MV MISSISSIPPI to host public hearings, a process unique to the MRC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that allow the public a greater voice in shaping federal policy by discussing their concerns with those individuals responsible for improving the condition of the river, fostering navigation, promoting commerce, and reducing flood risk along the watershed.

For additional information about the MV MISSISSIPPI or the MRC, visit the Mississippi Valley Division’s website: http://www.mvd.usace.army.mil. For more information on the public hearings, visit http://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Home/MRC.

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