Saturday, April 16, 2005
A river group has listed five locks on the Mississippi River, including two on the Iowa side, as needing urgent attention to allow an increase in barge traffic. The Midwest Area River Coalition 2000 lists the locks at Dubuque and Keokuk on its top five list. The others are in Clarksville, Missouri; Welch, Minnesota; and Granite City, Illinois. The U-S Army Corps of Engineers has pursued the idea of lengthening the locks for more than a decade. Randy Simmons is with the American River Transportation, which has fleet service in Dubuque, Cassville and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. He says if one gate goes down, it shuts down the whole system. Not everyone agrees the locks need updated. Mike Breitbach of Dubuque is with Mississippi River Revival, an environmental watchdog group. He's a vocal critic of the corps' plan, saying it's a waste of money. He also scoffed at the list.