Sen. Durbin says plan in the works to keep river traffic open - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Sen. Durbin says plan in the works to keep river traffic open

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(WGEM) -- Lawmakers and the Army Corps of Engineers will sit down Monday to determine how to keep barge traffic moving on the Mississippi River.

River levels are forecasted to fall to nine feet at St. Louis by the end of the month, if that happens, a majority of barge traffic will be shut down.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois says there's a plan to start blasting rock obstacles about 45 miles south of St. Louis to make more space for barge traffic.

He says Any stoppage in river traffic puts a hurt on the economy.

"There's an impact on those who work the river, they may not get back to work or work as much as they need to. And secondly there's an impact on the commodities that are being moved on the river aren't moving. Whether its coal for power plants or agricultural chemicals for our farmers who just went through a drought. It's a big part of our lives that we take for granted in good times, but in bad times we realize how important it is," said Sen. Durbin.

Two contractors have been hired to help blast the rock pinnacles. Durbin says work could start as early as next week.

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