Nov 16 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.