According to reports, shortly after reopening, the Ohio River was again closed because of falling water levels from the worst Midwest drought in 17 years, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.
A vessel towing 13 barges ran aground near Cairo, Illinois. The Coast Guard freed the barges but declared a safety zone and closed the river at 11:30 a.m.
A test tow launched by the Coast Guard drafting 9 feet, 6 inches ran aground, reducing the possibility that vessels could go through the area on a case-by-case basis.
About 20 vessels towing barges were
waiting to pass through a seven-mile stretch of the Ohio River, near where it meets the Mississippi River. Mile markers 969 to 976 have become a choke point and caused barge freight rates to rise.
Beginning Sunday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will spend two weeks dredging four areas between Mound City and Cairo, Illinois, Army Corps officials said.