American Currents

ACBL’s Daily River Conditions

Updated Thursday, October 6th, 2022

Today’s Key Issues

  • Historic Low Water Conditions – River Levels continue to fall on the Mississippi River with severe impacts to navigation not seen since 1988. Industry is expecting catastrophic impacts to boat capacity, which will in turn drastically decrease ton-mile productivity for the inland rivers.
    • ACBL is working to crew all available boats and mobilize equipment to combat these conditions.
    • Industry has reduced the SBD loading drafts to 9’6″ as of September 27th. This change reflects a 20-27% reduction to tons per barge versus normal conditions. NBD drafts will remain at 9’6″.
    • ACBL is planning to move barges in our network loaded prior to this change per the below guidance. Note, this is subject to change should conditions deteriorate.
      • Barges up to 10′ 0′ will continue to move from Cairo South
      • Barges between 10′ 0′ and 10′ 6″ will continue to move from Rosedale South
      • No barges over 10′ 6″ will be moved until further notice
    • Industry has agreed to 25-barge max tow size SBD, reflecting a 17-38% reduction in tow size.
    • Groundings have been driving intermittent closures of 12-36 hrs over the past three weeks.
    • Docks and harbors may see further draft restrictions locally, some reportedly at 7′ max.
    • USACE is engaging additional buoy boats to improve navigational aids as well as two dredges.
      • Dredging activities expected to drive full closure periods to transit during this event. See below for specific locations and closure details.
    • Expect these issues to continue through October based on forecasted precip.
  • Upper Miss Closeout – ACBL has published our final loading dates for shipments into the Upper Miss ahead of the Winter Closure. Our final loading dates from the Gulf origins will be October 10th for Dubuque, IA to St. Paul, MN and October 24th for St. Louis, MO thru Clinton, IA. Please review and get in touch with your ACBL sales representative if you have any questions. Click Here for the full closeout notice.
  • Ohio River and Tributary Low Water – Due to low water and a bar developing just below Olmsted Lock (OR 965), drafts have been reduced to 9′ full-river for the Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers.
  • Cannelton Lock Main Chamber Closure (OR 720)Main Chamber closed for repairs July 6th through November 11th. Additionally, traffic will not be able pass through the Auxiliary chamber this week in order to facilitate the installation of the lower miter gates in the Main Chamber. Currently seeing 50+ hrs of delay and have 24 tows waiting as of this morning. Expect delays to return to 18-36 Hr next week.
  • Belleville Lock Daytime Closure (OR 204) – Daytime Closure for repairs September 7th through the 30th. Currently seeing minimal delay and had 1 tow waiting this morning due to this closure.
  • Norrell Lock (AK 10) – Intermittent closure for repairs and a 70′ width restriction took place June 1st, 2022 thru August 4th. The lock was fully open from August 4th through the 8th. Daily closures resumed August 9th from 07:00 to 19:00 with no width restrictions, was briefly fully open from August 18th thru the 21st, and resumed daily closures August 22nd with 70′ width restrictions to take place until November 30th.
  • Joe Hardin Lock (AK 50) – Intermittent closure for repairs from 07:00-19:00 starting September 19th thru the 29th. A full closure will then take place from September 30th thru October 9th.
  • Emmett Sanders Lock (AK 66) – Full closure to install new wiring for the lock starting October 2nd thru the 6th.
  • Knowlton Revetment (LM 618) – Work will begin on Monday 9/26/22 and continue through 10/10/22. Due to the nature and location of this work, there will be a full closure to southbound tows from 0700-1900 daily for the duration of this project. 
  • Stack Island Dredging (LM 485) – Work was delayed on 09/30 due to industry groundings. Work began 10/01 with a planned full closure for 2 days. Due to further groundings upon an attempt to pass traffic, there has been no significant movement since 9/30. The queue this morning was at 72 NBD and 55 SBD. Running 5 NBD to test, then will run SBD until dark. Will run NBD at night and SBD during the day starting 10/5 until the queue is cleared. This issue has driven 4+ days of delay to several tows and will continue to be a burden on Lower Miss transits through Mid October. Please see additional restrictions for southbound traffic as of 10/05:
    • No more than 10′ max draft.
    • No more than 5 barges wide.
    • No more than 20 total barges in in tow.
    • No more than 5 red flag barges in tow.
    • No overtaking.
  • Old River Lock (LM 305) – Daily closure started August 1st from 06:00-19:30 and lasts through August 29th. Additionally, a second closure commencing approximately August 30th through November 12th 2022 for installation of two miter gates and repairing lock chamber expansion joints, which will necessitate a full closure.
  • Baton Rouge Intermittent Closure (LM 232.4 – 233.4)- Daily closure to all vessel traffic started October 5th and lasts through October 7th from 08:00-11:00 and 14:00-17:00 each day for a fiber cable replacement operation.
  • I-10 Bridge (LM 229.3) – Safety advisory from LM228.5 – 230 AHP for the replacement of the fender system on Pier 5 of the I-10 bridge, on the left descending channel near MM229.3. The operation will be 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week from August 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023. Operations may extend in the channel at times and cause delays. Transit slowest safe speed to minimize wake.
  • Donaldsonville Daily Closure (LM 189) – Nightly closures starting approximately October 17th through November 8th 1900 – 0700 for a pipeline removal project. Expect no closures 10/23-25 and 11/1-3 for a break in work.
  • Additional Port Allen Route Closure (PA 34) – Resumed dredging on October 1st. Expect daily closures from 06:00 to 18:00 for dredging and expect to complete October 5th.
  • Bayou Sorrel Intermittent Closures (PA 37) – The lock resumed the daily closure on August 1st Monday thru Thursday from 06:30 to 17:00. Projected to last till March 2023. Currently seeing 6 hours of delays and one tow waiting as of this morning.
  • Harvey Lock Closure (WC 0.0) – As of October 2nd, Harvey Lock is CLOSED to marine traffic due to risk from reverse head conditions resulting from low water conditions on the Lower MS River. Algiers Lock can be used as an alternate route.
  • Industry Manpower Issues – The Inland Maritime Industry continues seeing major shortages of manpower. This is directly impacting the ability to crew towboats. As a result, expect 1-2 day delays in boat timings throughout the system, increasing overall barge transits in kind. ACBL has taken measures to increase our workforce throughout the system. The safety of our Mariners is our highest operating priority. Accordingly, ACBL has implemented measures and training programs to keep all of our team members safe.

River Closure & Restricted Movements


Weather Information


Additional Information