Low river levels keep harbor service busy, New Madrid County Por - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Low river levels keep harbor service busy, New Madrid County Port dredged

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is dredging the New Madrid County port at mile marker 885. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is dredging the New Madrid County port at mile marker 885.
The port is currently only two to four feet deep. The dredging should improve that to nine to 10 feet deep. The port is currently only two to four feet deep. The dredging should improve that to nine to 10 feet deep.
Weeks Marine Inc. is dredging the New Madrid County Port with cutter suction dredges. Weeks Marine Inc. is dredging the New Madrid County Port with cutter suction dredges.
The barges are outfitted with a rotating cutter head that excavates the bottom, feeding the dredged material to a pump system that transports the sediments via pipeline to the discharge point. The barges are outfitted with a rotating cutter head that excavates the bottom, feeding the dredged material to a pump system that transports the sediments via pipeline to the discharge point.
NEW MADRID COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

Low water levels along the Mississippi River have caused problems for barge companies trying to move freight along the river.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is dredging the New Madrid County port at mile marker 885.

The port is currently only two to four feet deep. The dredging should improve that to nine to 10 feet deep.

Weeks Marine Inc. is dredging the New Madrid County Port with cutter suction dredges which are barges outfitted with a rotating cutter head that excavates the bottom, feeding the dredged material to a pump system that transports the sediments via pipeline to the discharge point.

The cutterhead dredge Venture started work at the New Madrid County Port on Aug. 25 and is expected to be there until Sept. 2. From there it is scheduled to go to New Madrid City Harbor and will work there for about seven days.

The Venture already completed dredging Elvis Stahr Harbor at Hickman, Ky. and completed dredging about half of the harbor at the Northwest Tennessee Harbor (Cates Landing) at Tiptonville, Tenn.

The company plan to complete the NW Tennessee Harbor and also dredge the harbors at Caruthersville, Mo. and Osceola, Ark. by December.

St. Jude and New Madrid Harbor Service is a company that operates tugboats and take barges to ports along the river to be filled and emptied. The company is the only harbor service that operates on the Mississippi River in the 870mm-888mm range. That's from New Madrid south for18 miles.

The New Madrid County Port is not useable at this time. A spokesperson for the Harbor Service says they are using other alternative ports to keep operations going.

There are several ports in the area that usually service the barges themselves by unloading and loading the barges.

Since the river levels are low, a lot of ports do not have the capability to load and unload their product on their own.

The Harbor Service is now assisting those ports and taking over that duty.

The St. Jude and New Madrid Harbor Service makes sure the barges stay afloat and routinely check on them to make sure they don't get stuck in the mud. They say since the river is so low and even closed in some portions of the river, the companies that own these barges have nowhere to go so they have to stay put. So the Harbor Service has 157 barges in their fleet right now which is way above normal.

The company has hired six worker to help with the additional work.

Another issue with the low river levels is that barges cannot be filled with as much product because the barges must still be able to float. So some companies are only getting a quarter of their intended load.

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