American Currents

ACBL’s Daily River Conditions

Updated Monday, January 30th, 2023

Today’s Key Issues

  • Ice Condition Update – Temps have dropped nearby and ice formation is a concern on the Illinois this week. Milder conditions are now forecast long-term for Feb, leading Industry to hope any ice formation is short-lived.
    • St. Louis fleet operations suspended Monday AM due to ice on barges and wintry mix.
    • Ice Couplings remain recommended on the Illinois, but ACBL and other operators have proactively implemented ice couplings in our tows.
  • Upper Miss Low Water – The Upper Miss is forecasted to see a fall as we move into February. Long-term our Operations team remains concerned we will see a variable river stage until late March when the Missouri River flows resume.
    • ACBL Dry loading drafts decreased to 10′ SBD for barges loading St. Louis through Cairo on Sunday 1/29.
    • Potential for further reduction when the gauge goes below 0′.
  • 2023 Upper Miss Reopening – ACBL has published our reopening plans, including dates upon which we will accept releases to destinations above St. Louis. Click here for the full letter.
    • ACBL will begin accepting releases from Gulf origins February 11th for St. Louis, MO thru Clinton, IA and February 21st for Dubuque, IA to St. Paul, MN.
  • Mel Price and Lock 27 Main Chamber Closures – Starting Jan 1, the main chamber at both Mel Price Lock (UM 200) and Lock 27 (UM 185) will be closed for maintenance. While the Auxiliary chamber will be in use, expect 3+ days of delays to transits above St. Louis. Ice conditions could exacerbate the impact of this work, scheduled through the end of March.
    • Lock 27– Currently has 26 boats to lock (Current average delay per boat is 46 hours)
    • Mel Price– Currently has 1 boat to lock (Current average delay per boat 42 hours)
  • 2023 Illinois River 120-Day Closure – ACBL has released our guidance for shipments to/from the Illinois River and Chicago which will be impacted by the lock closures (Marseilles, Dresden Island, and Brandon Road) Jun – Sep 2023. Click Here for our full guidance. Please contact your sales representative if you have further questions.
  • Belleville Lock Full Closures – To facilitate hydraulic line repairs, Belleville Lock (OR 204) will see full closures daily 0700 – 1700 Jan 17th through the 20th. Expect traffic to clear nightly but could see 12-18 hrs delay.
  • Hannibal Lock Closure (OR 126) – The primary lock chamber will be closed from February 20th through April 7th from 06:00 – 23:59.
  • Dashields Lock Closure (OR 13.3) – The Primary Chamber will be closed from 13:00, February 16th, through 13:00, February 18th.
  • Kentucky Lock Closure (TR 22) – Has been out of service since 01/24 P.M. until further notice due to mechanical issues. Crews are on site and continue to assess and repair the deficiencies.
  • Lower Miss Tow Size Improvements – ACBL is closely monitoring river conditions and has further increased NBD tow size to six-widths on the Lower. Our larger horsepower classes are the only group experiencing reductions of 15%.
  • Norrell Lock (AK 10) – Intermittent closure for repairs and a 70′ width restriction started June 1st, 2022 with brief reprieve in August. The 70′ width restriction has been lifted as of December 7th with daily closures ongoing from 07:00 to 19:00 until the beginning of February, 2023.
  • Bayou Sorrel Intermittent Closures (PA 37) – Daily closures resumed November 28, 2022 from 07:00 to 16:00. The daily closures are projected to last till March 2023. Currently experiencing minimal delay.
  • Morgan City-Port Allen Alternate Route – If the Bayou Sorrel River gauge reaches 6.9 feet and continues to rise, the Bayou Sorrel Lock will begin clearing out the waterway and will not allow vessels to enter. If the Bayou Sorrel River gauge reaches 7.3 feet the U.S. Coast Guard will assess the need to close the waterway to all power driven vessels,
  • Algiers Lock Repair (WC 0) – USACE anticipates repairs in February or March depending on diver availability. Repairs will require 5-7 days of Daytime Closures.
  • Bayou Boeuf Lock (WC 94) – Beginning on February 6th, 2023, and continuing through approximately 16 February 2023, Bayou Boeuf lock will have intermittent openings for navigation with delays not to exceed 6 hours. The Hired Labor Unit will be working during daylight hours from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
  • Leland Bowman Lock (WC 163) – Will be closed to navigation during daylight hours, from 07:00 until 17:30 on Friday, 27 January 2023, and Saturday, 28 January 2023, to remove debris from the Lock’s gate recesses. 
  • Calcasieu Lock (WC 241) – Will be closed to navigation beginning on January 30th and continuing through March 3rd, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Per USACE, repairs may be extended past March 3rd if additional funds are made available.
  • Brazos Repair (WC 401) – Daily closure from Wednesday, 11 January 2023 thru Wednesday, 08 February 2023, from 07:00 to 19:00, Monday through Friday. Currently experiencing eight hours of delay with two boats in queue.
  • Colorado Lock Closure (WC 440) – Resumption of work at the lock December 5th, 2022, thru March 10th, 2023 from 07:00 to 19:00.
  • Gulf Fog Delays – There has been significant fog delays since Sunday that have driven 8-12 hours of delay. In turn, expect to see 24-36 hours of delay to transit until late week.
  • 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

Weather Information

Additional Information