Reports of the end of the barge shipping season are premature, according to the Mississippi lock and dam manager. Bill Gretten with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers says planned maintenance work will close Lock 12 at Bellevue, Iowa, the middle of December. Till then, barge traffic is flowing freely.and he says you can go anywhere downstream of Lock Twelve that the weather and ice allow. Gretten says since the river-water temp is fifty degrees, ice is not a factor yet. And he says shippers didn’t wait for the spring floods to subside before their season began.Shipping got a late start because of bad ice late last winter but was underway before flooding started. Gretten says the Mississippi barge season is nowhere near over, at least from mid-Iowa southward to the Gulf of Mexico.In many years, ice closed the river by the first week in November, so we’re getting a “present” from the nice weather now. Gretten says he’s seen barge traffic on the Mississippi from Keokuk on south continue all winter long.
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