Rollin’ down the river ... well, maybe
Editor’s note: This is the first segment in a series on barge traffic and the businesses it affects on the Illinois River.
The interest in barge traffic along the Illinois River is on high alert. Last week, Illinois lawmakers Sen. Dick Durbin and newly-elected Congressman Bill Enyart were briefed and toured the area between Cairo and St. Louis, Mo., where low water has exposed rock formations and caused delays at the locks. They were accompanied by Army Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard officials.
Because of the narrower river channel at some points on the river, barges have to nose into the river banks to allow traffic from the opposite direction to pass. A tow can travel up to four miles an hour, which in good weather and normal water depth allows the tugs to travel about 100 miles a day. Traffic traveling south on the river have priority over barges coming north. The low river levels are caused by the drought in the Midwest.
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