Locks and Dams

Melvin Price L&D Backed Up Following July Allision

The barge and towing industry can expect further delays in operations at the Melvin Price Locks and Dam on the Upper Mississippi River near Alton, Ill., until August 17. The lock has been undergoing repairs since July 16.

Lockmaster Allen Barnes said six loaded barges of a tow allided with the lock’s longwall and impacted the main lock’s upstream liftgate on July 6. Once repairs are completed, Barnes said, the Corps will need to test the gates before fully opening the lock to commercial navigation.

As of August 2, there were 47 boats in queue at the lock. “It has caused some issues down in the St. Louis Harbor and between Mel Price and Locks 27,” said Barnes, who added that 24 of the tows are waiting to go north, while 23 are going south.

During the closure, the 600-foot auxiliary chamber will remain open, but without the tow haulage equipment, tows requiring double lockage will have to provide their own helper boat to pull cuts.