Traffic Jam on Mississippi River Cleared Up


The Mississippi River has reopened to commercial traffic after a barge got stuck in a sandbar south of La Crosse.

Commercial traffic closed Tuesday afternoon, holding up a number of shipments on the Upper Mississippi River. The Army Corps of Engineers used a private dredging company to essentially scoop out the excess sand in order to resume traffic.

The river carries a lot of sand and that naturally builds over time and creates sandbars. It’s an occurrence known as shoaling. The Corps dredges these sandbars in order to maintain the Mississippi River’s nine foot navigation channel.

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Mark Upward is an Army Corps of Engineers lead civil engineering technician based in Fountain City. He says they’ve has had to increase dredging lately, “The last two years the high river flows have caused a lot more sedimentation movement to the sand and the river bottom, which has caused more shoaling and a few more dredging projects that we’ve had in normal years.”

Further south on the lower Mississippi River, the Corps of Engineers has been battling emerging sandbars and falling water levels due to the drought. The upper river’s levels have not been affected because of the lock and dam system.