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Missouri River flooding hurts barge industry

A barge traveling on the Missouri River.
(via Flickr/roberthuffstutter)
A barge traveling on the Missouri River.

After years of drought, barge operators along the Missouri River got more rain than they had hoped for this year.

The industry had grown optimistic when rising river levels appeared to promise an increase in barge traffic this year. The Missouri Department of Transportation even projected a 15 percent to 20 percent increase.

But then the rains started, causing flooding along the 675-mile stretch from Sioux City, Iowa, to St. Louis. That prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to close the river between Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota and Glasgow, Mo.

John LaRandeau, Navigation Manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, says he expects the flooding to cause one of the worst years of shipping in the river's history.

Barge industry officials tell The Columbian Missourian that they expect the industry to survive.