Closing barge traffic on the Mississippi river dring harvest is not going over wlel with farmers and grain shippers. Grain movement has already been disrupted this harvest by problems in the rail system, and now the flow of corn and soybeans to the gulf could be stopped. Louisiana’s agriculture commissioner says Mississippi River bank reinforcement could hamper export of a record grain crop by closing the river during daylight. Commissioner Mike Strain says a shortage of rail cars and locomotives is already stressing grain transportation. The Army Corps of Engineers is closing a three-mile stretch between Memphis, Tennessee and Greenville, Mississippi, to reinforce a washed-out area of river bank.
Spokesman Bob Anderson says the work can only be done while the river is low and is needed to ensure that high water won’t threaten the levees. Anderson says upriver barge traffic is going through during the day, and traffic is going both ways at night. He says work will be delayed each morning until any waiting barges are through. It’s expected to take up to 14 days.