WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Three Mississippi River Locks Closed

May 30, 2013

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed three locks on the Mississippi River due to rising water levels.

Lock 19 in Keokuk

The affected locks are at Canton, MO (#20), Quincy, IL (#21) and Saverton, MO (#22).

Bill Ford, who is Acting Chief of Locks and Dams for the Corps' Rock Island District, says the three locks had to be closed because the water is breaching the entry gates.

"Normally when you open the gates, there is no current," says Ford.  "So the gates are basically opening against dead water.  Once you have water flowing over it, you basically have the entire current of the river flowing over the top of the gate.  That is really stressful on them."

Ford says the Corps is keeping a close eye on the locks at New Boston (#17) and Gladstone (#18), given the current river projections.

He says at this point, the lock at Keokuk is not in jeopardy of closing.  In fact, he says it is very rare for that particular lock to close.

Ford says this does not prohibit traffic in these areas of the river.