More Freight Shipped on Mississippi River in QCs
Barges are carrying more cargo through the Quad Cities, especially corn, beans, and other farm commodities.
Michelle O'Neill has the numbers.
The Corps of Engineers says last year, traffic at Lock 15 rose 16% to 19 million tons, compared to 16.4 million tons in 2014.
Spokesman Ron Ron Fournier says towboats and barges pushed more food and farm products than any other freight category. That's also true for the Mississippi River locks in LeClaire and in Muscatine.
Funding for repair and maintenance of the navigation system is not great, but Fournier says it is trickling in. The locks on the Mississippi are an average of 73 years old. And last year, delays averaged more than 2.5 hours. By the way, Lock 15 broke down twice just last month.
The 2015 barge traffic figures are similar to 2007 when 20 million tons of freight passed through the Quad Cities. Over the last eight years, tonnage dropped to a low of 13.7 million. The record is 31.2 million tons, set in 1999.