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Governor Worried Low Mississippi River Levels Could Hurt Barge Traffic

CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn said he and other Illinois officials are very concerned about the falling water levels on the Mississippi River, and the impact it could have on the state.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, according to federal officials, the Mississippi could drop to a level of 9 feet by the end of the month.

The governor said Thursday that such levels could impede barge traffic carrying Illinois grain and coal to market, and other vital shipping.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports

“We’ve asked the Army Corps of Engineers to initiate immediately blasting and dredging to help make the river a little deeper. We’ve also asked that the Missouri River, which feeds into the Mississippi River, be allowed to have more water put into the Mississippi,” Quinn said.

The river’s levels are lowest around St. Louis. Current trends indicate barge traffic could be impeded by the end of the month.

“A very serious problem. We send a lot of our grain, and our coal, and other products from Illinois down the Mississippi River – the Big River – it’s 583 miles of our border,” Quinn said.

The governor said he and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) have been working on the issue night and day.

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