Saturday, Mar 28, 2015
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Improving locks and dams means more efficient barge traffic

7 months ago by Jim Dewey

Congress earlier this year passed the Water Resources Reform and Development act which could eventually lead to the expansion of several locks on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. 

Currently - barge tows must be broken up in order to pass through the locks - slowing the shipping process down and raising the cost of sending goods up and down the river. 

The Iowa Department of Transportation has released a comparison of how much can be moved by river as compared with trains and trucks. 

One barge holds as much as nearly 13 and a half jumbo hopper train cars or 58 large semis. 

A 15 barge tow can carry as much as two 100 car trains or 870 large semis. 

The two trains - end to end would be two miles long while the 870 trucks - bumper to bumper - would stretch 11 and a half miles. 

That is the amount of traffic that would be added to area highways if just one of the 80 year old plus locks fails.


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