American Currents

ACBL’s Daily River Conditions

Updated Thursday, May 26th, 2022

Today’s Key Issues

  • Greenup Lock (OR 342) and Belleville Lock (OR 204) Main Chamber Closures – Starting 5/1 through 6/29, the Main Chamber at both locks will be closed for repairs. Auxiliary chamber will be available at both locks, but expect delays to transit and fleet shifting in the area during this closure. Currently seeing 6+ hrs delay due to the double-lockings in the auxiliary chamber at Belleville and 15+ hrs delay at Greenup. As of this morning, there were 3 tows at Belleville and 5 tows at Greenup.
  • Pickwick Lock Main Chamber Closure (TR 206) – During a routine inspection, a potential structural issue was found in the Main Chamber and as a result the chamber is closed to navigation effective immediately (May 24th). Auxilliary chamber is still in available for transit and can run 9-regulation barges. Industry will be closely watching for the results of further inspections and expect delays to worsen if the chamber requires immediate repairs.
  • Sunken Barge near Cape Girardeau (UM 49) – Sunday evening, 5/8, the channel was closed at UM 49 due to a sinking barge in the channel. Traffic began to resume Monday 5/9. Tow size is restricted to 30 barges max NBD and SBD is dependent on horsepower class (8K and above can shove 25, 8K and below restricted to 20). Larger tows are transiting during daylight hours only. Salvage operations have commenced and may take as long as three weeks to complete. All eyes are on the river stage, as if the river falls out we could lose additional tow size.
  • Flood Action Stage on the Lower Miss and Gulf
    • Lower Miss has been in Flood Action Restrictions since early Feb. Tow sizes remain cut-back by 12-16% and vessels stopping SBD overnight at Vicksburg and Baton Rouge on a boat-by-boat basis.
    • Baton Rouge gauge reached 30′ on March 5th and as such tows continue to be restricted to tow-size and HP requirements per USCG flood regulations. River remains over 30′ and crested May 24th at 32.9′, projected on a slow fall but remain in restrictions through early June.
    • New Orleans gauge reached 12′ on May 21st, enacting fleet surcharges and USCG Flood restrictions in the Gulf. Based on the projections, expect to be out of these conditions by the end of May.
    • Industry will be closely watching the forecasted precip on the Northern Rivers. We expect restrictions to early June, but additional precip may extend the length of this event.
  • Arkansas River Flood Restrictions – Transit remains slowed on a majority of the Arkansas river system due to high flows and elevated river levels. Expect these conditions to last into late May pending further precip. This will impact barges transiting to/from the river and increase interchange time in Rosedale.
  • Lower Miss Revetment and Bank Securing (LM 807) – Starting 05/10, Tuesday, USACE expecting a 30 day revetment project on the Lower Miss. Expect this project to have daytime closures for southbound traffic from 06:00 – 18:00. Southbound traffic to check in at Hickman Point (824 LMR) and Northbound Vessels @ Island 26 (800 LMR). The Kacie Luhr will be the onsite contact vessel and will standby on VHF 13 or 72, or phone 573-803-7931. The M/V Kacie Luhr will maintain and manage the queue throughout the duration of this project. USACE and Industry will be discussing dates, queue procedures, etc. Too little is confirmed to outline the transit impact at this time.
  • Port Allen (PA 63) – Daytime closure starting May 31st through June 7th from 06:00 – 18:30 Monday thru Friday to remove one of the Tainter Valves. The lock will pass traffic as usual after hours. Expect 12-24 hrs delay and potentially more pending ability to clear the backlog daily.
  • Bayou Sorrel Daytime Closures (PA 37) – Since March 17, Bayou Sorrel has been scheduled to close 06:30 – 17:00 daily for repairs. Projected to last till Feb 28th, 2023. Since mid-April, repairs have stopped due to near flood conditions, but the Bayou Sorrel bridge is driving delays due to a daytime restricted opening schedule as a result of the high flows. Current delays are at 5 hrs and there were 2 tows waiting as of this morning.
  • Calcasieu Lock Closure (WC 239) – Daylight Closures 0700 – 1800 Mon – Thurs March 22nd through August 25th. Expect 12-24 hrs delay and potentially more pending ability to clear the backlog daily.
  • Brazzos Floodgates (WC 401) – Daylight Closures 0700 – 1700 Mon – Fri through July 1st. Expect 24-36 hrs delay.
  • Industry Manpower Issues – The Inland Maritime Industry continues seeing major shortages of manpower. This is directly impacting the ability to crew towboats. As a result, expect 1-2 day delays in boat timings throughout the system, increasing overall barge transits in kind. ACBL has taken measures to increase our workforce throughout the system. The safety of our Mariners is our highest operating priority. Accordingly, ACBL has implemented measures and training programs to keep all of our team members safe.

River Closure & Restricted Movements


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