American Currents

ACBL’s Daily River Conditions

Updated Friday, September 30th, 2022

Today’s Key Issues

  • Historic Lower Miss Low Water Conditions – River Levels continue to fall on the Lower Miss with severe impacts to navigation not seen since 1988. Expect Industry to see significant delays to barge transits and ton-miles production driven by drastic reductions to boat and barge capacity.
    • ACBL is working to crew all available boats and mobilize equipment to combat these conditions.
    • Industry has reduced the SBD drafts to 9’6″. This change reflects a 20-27% reduction to tons per barge versus normal conditions. NBD drafts will remain at 9’6″.
    • Industry has agreed to 25-barge max tow size SBD, reflecting a 17-38% reduction in tow size.
    • Groundings have been driving intermittent closures of 12-36 hrs over the past two weeks. Industry has worked two groundings and corresponding closures today at MM 792 and 440.
    • Docks and harbors may see further draft restrictions locally, some reportedly at 7′ max.
    • USACE is engaging additional buoy boats to improve navigational aids as well as two dredges.
    • Expect these issues to continue well into October based on forecasted precip.
  • Hurricane Ian Update – The current track of this Hurricane expected to minimally impact the Inland River system. ACBL’s Hurricane Task Force is monitoring the storm and is in-touch with our Team Members with residence in Florida.
  • Upper Miss Closeout – ACBL has published our final loading dates for shipments into the Upper Miss ahead of the Winter Closure. Our final loading dates from the Gulf origins will be October 10th for Dubuque, IA to St. Paul, MN and October 24th for St. Louis, MO thru Clinton, IA. Please review and get in touch with your ACBL sales representative if you have any questions. Click Here for the full closeout notice.
  • Ohio River and Tributary Low Water – Due to low water and a bar developing just below Olmsted Lock (OR 965), drafts have been reduced to 9′ full-river for the Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers.
  • Cannelton Lock Main Chamber Closure (OR 720)Main Chamber closed for repairs July 6th through November 11th. Traffic will pass through the Auxiliary chamber, requiring two cuts for most tows. Between 9/26 and 9/30 there will be three 4-hour full closures to install anchor pins. Currently seeing 43+ hrs of delay and have 27 tows waiting as of this morning. Expect delays similar to the recent Belleville Lock closure (18-36 Hr).
  • Belleville Lock Daytime Closure (OR 204) – Daytime Closure for repairs September 7th through the 30th. Currently seeing minimal delay and had 1 tow waiting this morning due to this closure.
  • Norrell Lock (AK 10) – Intermittent closure for repairs and a 70′ width restriction took place June 1st, 2022 thru August 4th. The lock was fully open from August 4th through the 8th. Daily closures resumed August 9th from 07:00 to 19:00 with no width restrictions, was briefly fully open from August 18th thru the 21st, and resumed daily closures August 22nd with 70′ width restrictions to take place until November 30th.
  • Joe Hardin Lock (AK 50) – Intermittent closure for repairs from 07:00-19:00 starting September 19th thru the 29th. A full closure will then take place from September 30th thru October 9th.
  • Emmett Sanders Lock (AK 66) – Full closure to install new wiring for the lock starting October 2nd thru the 6th.
  • Knowlton Revetment (LM 618) – Work will begin on Monday 9/26/22 and continue through 10/10/22. Due to the nature and location of this work, there will be a full closure to southbound tows from 0700-1900 daily for the duration of this project. 
  • Stack Island Dredging (LM 485) – Work is expected to begin 09/30 and last for 10-14 days. Currently expect an initial 24-36 hours closure, intermittent closures in the days following, and then running traffic based on queue size.
  • Old River Lock (LM 305) – Daily closure started August 1st from 06:00-19:30 and lasts through August 29th. Additionally, a second closure commencing approximately August 30th through November 12th 2022 for installation of two miter gates and repairing lock chamber expansion joints, which will necessitate a full closure.
  • Baton Rouge Intermittent Closure (LM 232.4 – 233.4)- Daily closure to all vessel traffic starting October 5th through October 7th from 08:00-11:00 and 14:00-17:00 each day for a fiber cable replacement operation.
  • I-10 Bridge (LM 229.3) – Safety advisory from LM228.5 – 230 AHP for the replacement of the fender system on Pier 5 of the I-10 bridge, on the left descending channel near MM229.3. The operation will be 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week from August 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023. Operations may extend in the channel at times and cause delays. Transit slowest safe speed to minimize wake.
  • Donaldsonville Daily Closure (LM 189) – Nightly closures starting approximately October 17th through November 8th 1900 – 0700 for a pipeline removal project. Expect no closures 10/23-25 and 11/1-3 for a break in work.
  • Port Allen Route Closure (PA 32) – Daily Closure starting September 29th through the 30th from 06:00 to 18:00 for a dredging operation.
  • Additional Port Allen Route Closure (PA 34) – Dredge will shift this this evening, September 30th, and resume dredging tomorrow , October 1st. Expect daily closures from 06:00 to 18:00 for dredging and expect to complete October 4th.
  • Bayou Sorrel Intermittent Closures (PA 37) – The lock resumed the daily closure on August 1st Monday thru Thursday from 06:30 to 17:00. Projected to last till March 2023. Currently seeing minimal delays and no tows waiting as of this morning.
  • 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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