Miss. River closure not expected, but shipping curbs likely-USCG
Nov 16 (Reuters) - An outright closure of the Mississippi River to commercial traffic between St. Louis and Cairo, Illinois, is unlikely, but falling water levels are expected to prompt shipping restrictions at some point, a U.S. Coast Guard commander said Friday.
The restrictions, which include reduced drafts on vessels or smaller barge tow sizes, would be implemented if the shipping channel on the river were found to be too shallow or too narrow, said Captain Byron Black, commander for Coast Guard's Upper Mississippi River sector.
Water levels on the critical stretch of the river are expected to decline early next month as drought conservation measures stem the inflow of water from the Missouri River. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)