Market Matters Blog
Mary Kennedy DTN Basis Analyst

Friday 07/11/14

Eight Locks and Dams Still Closed; St. Louis Rises Above Flood Stage

OMAHA (DTN) -- Conditions are improving for barge freight on the upper Mississippi River, but downstream problems remain an issue.

(Photo by USACE Mississippi River Rock Island District)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, reopened its three Minneapolis locks to commercial navigation Saturday, July 5, when flows dropped below 40,000 cfs. "So far this navigation season, the three Minneapolis locks, have been closed to commercial navigation four times, totaling 47 days," said the USACE. "Commercial traffic at these locks is shut down at 40,000 cfs."

Barges that were parked down river of the closure near Minneapolis were placed for loading at river terminals in St. Paul. However, they will be unable to get downriver yet as Locks 16 through 18 and 20 through 22 remained closed in the Rock Island District as of July 11 due to the water overtopping the miter gates, making them inoperable according to the USACE. Here is the link to the USACE Rock Island District Lock closures:…

Farther down the Mississippi River in St. Louis, the water rose above flood stage and is at 30.98 feet as of July 11. Levels are expected to reach 31 feet by July 12 before falling. Flood stage is 30 feet above zero gauge.

The USACE St. Louis District said barge traffic on the river will continue to be affected by high water. Lock and Dam 24 in Clarksville, Mo., and Lock and Dam 25 in Winfield, Mo., are still closed to traffic as of July 11.

"Lock closures are essential to protect critical components and facilities from flood waters and be able to restore services as quickly and economically as possible after water levels recede," said the USACE. Barge lines have reported it could be sometime during the week of July 14 before the river reopens to traffic. Here is the link to the USACE ST. Louis District, river and reservoir daily report:…


The BNSF reported on July 3 that it experienced flooding at multiple locations through the Missouri and Iowa regions on the Hannibal Subdivision.

According to the latest service update, "flooding and the potential for flooding along various sections of the Mississippi are keeping our crews and meteorologist busy. While the size of our network allows our dispatchers to re-route trains and plan trips around areas that are at risk for disruptions, those re-routes can create some challenges. Some trips will take longer since we are not able to use the most optimal route and adding traffic to certain traffic lanes means that our velocity and throughput becomes temporarily affected.

"In particular, our Hannibal subdivision, which is located in central Illinois along the Mississippi river, is out of service due to flooding in the area. We are managing that outage by re-routing traffic and using alternative lanes so as to continue service to customers. On our Ottumwa subdivision, which is also near the Mississippi in southern Iowa, our crews have been able to raise the track as much as 12 inches at a critical location in Burlington, Iowa, which allows that section of track to remain in service."

The CN (Canadian National Railway Company) reported on July 9 that "A number of branch lines suspended operations on Sunday, June 29, and have since resumed at least partial operations. The Cromer line partially reopened on Sunday, July 6. Both the Cromer and the Quappelle lines are scheduled to resume full operations on Monday, July 7. In the interim, local service to customers located along these branch lines may continue to encounter some delays. CN continues to keep a close watch on conditions in southern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba and will continue to respond as required."

The CN reported a derailment along the Kingston subdivision of the CN main line on Thursday, July 10, near Brockville, Ontario, which affected trains due to transit along the Montreal/Toronto corridor.

On July 11, the CN reported that "repairs to the site were completed as of 1100 hours EDT on Friday. July 11. Customers should expect that traffic scheduled to run through the affected area may incur minimal delays during the return to normal traffic levels."

"Speed restrictions remain in effect along the Sprague and Fort Frances subdivisions. As a result, trains running between Winnipeg, Manitoba, and our Ranier, Minn., border crossing are operating with some delays." Here is the link to the CN State of the Railroad web page:…


On July 7, the BNSF reported to the STB (Surface Transportation Board) there was an average of 7,388 past due cars vs. 8,462 for the prior week and were 26.6 days late. Minnesota was owed 743 cars with days late at 16.9; Montana was owed 1,415 cars with days late at 29.8 and North Dakota was owed 4,696 grain cars, with days late at 28.5 days late. The entire report (PDF) by the BNSF to the STB can be seen here:…

The Canadian Pacific (CP) reported it was behind 10,000 to 12,000 cars and on average and were nearly 10 weeks late. The CP also reported new open order requests of 24,786 cars in North Dakota and 8,186 in Minnesota. The entire report (PDF) by the CP to the STB can be seen here:…

Mary Kennedy can be reached at

Follow Mary Kennedy on Twitter @MaryCKenn


Posted at 4:51PM CDT 07/11/14 by Mary Kennedy
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