The Mississippi River's water level is dropping again and barge industry trade groups warn that river commerce could essentially come to a halt as early as next week in an area south of St. Louis.

The Coast Guard remains confident that the nation's largest waterway will remain open despite the worst drought in decades. But officials with the American Waterways Operators and Waterways Council Incorporated said Thursday that even if the river is open, further limits on barges will halt commercial traffic.


Kentucky transportation officials say the Cave-in-Rock ferry and the Dorena-Hickman ferry have been closed due to high winds.

The Cave-in-Rock ferry carries vehicles over the Ohio River between Illinois Route 1 in Hardin County and Kentucky 91 in Crittenden County.  The Dorena-Hickman ferry carries vehicles over the Mississippi River between Kentucky 1354 in Hickman and Missouri Route A and Route 77 near Dorena.

Pat Jones

An Army Corps of Engineers official says crews scooping out Mississippi River bedrock in southern Illinois are making steady progress.

Corps programs director Edward Belk said Wednesday 39 cubic yards of rock had been removed. That's less than 5 percent of the total targeted amount. Work started Sunday to remove dangerous rock pinnacles along a 6-mile stretch of the river near Thebes. Barge traffic is threatened because the river's water level is so low between St. Louis and Cairo.

Durbin & Simon Meet with Army Corps on Mississippi River

Dec 17, 2012

Illinois Lt. Governor Shelia Simon and US Senator Dick Durbin met Monday with the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The meeting in East Alton, IL was an opportunity for local business leaders to talk with Durbin and the Corps of Engineers about their response to low water levels on the Mississippi River.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were in Alton Friday as part of their annual low-water inspection.

The Corps has stepped up emergency scouring and dredging operations in response to the unprecedented low water levels in the Mississippi River Basin.

WSIU Radio's Jennifer Fuller has the latest local news and weather.

Leaders from all over southern Illinois will be talking transportation at a special summit in Mt. Vernon Wednesday.

The meeting aims to help city, county, and regional planners understand the benefits of having a strong transportation infrastructure... and to also help explain both the state and federal transportation packages.

Matt Davidson is with the Associated Contractors of Illinois... and a member of the Transportation for Illinois Coalition. He says getting around is critical to everyone - no matter their age.

An unscheduled stop lasted about four hours for a Carbondale-to-Chicago Amtrak run Sunday evening.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the Illini experienced a still-undetermined mechanical problem about 7:30 and stopped near Paxton, approximately 30 miles north of Champaign.

Passengers were kept on board, despite the lack of air conditioning and everything else electric. Magliari says that was for safety reasons.

Illinois officials will suspend road construction - where possible - to ease traffic flow for the Easter holiday weekend.

WSIU Radio's Jennifer Fuller has the morning's news and weather information.