ST. PAUL, Minn. – The first up-bound tow boat and barges for the opening of 2012 navigation season crunched through up to 10 inches of ice at Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River early this morning.
The MV Deana Ann, a tow operated by Marquette Transportation Company, Inc., Paducah, Ky., locked through the Army Corps’ Lock and Dam 3 in Red Wing, Minn., around 10:15 a.m. The tow is pushing seven barges.
Lock and Dam 3 is the first lock and dam north of Lake Pepin. Lake Pepin is the last part of the river to break up because the river is wider and subsequently the current is slower there than it is at other reaches of the river. If a tow can make it through Lake Pepin, it can make it all the way to St. Paul, Minn.
The tow is currently blocked by the Hastings, Minn., railroad bridge, because the bridge is without power. Once the tow makes it to Lock and Dam 2 in Hastings, which should take approximately two to two-and-a-hours after the bridge is moved, the Corps estimates it will take three-and-a-half to four hours for the tow to arrive in St. Paul.
The average opening date of the navigation season for the last 30 years has been March 20. Last year, the MV John M. Rivers, a tow operated by Ingram Marine Group of Nashville, Tenn., locked through Lock and Dam 3 March 31.
The earliest date for the opening of the navigation season was March 4, in 1984, 2000 and 2001; the latest date was April 7, 1978.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, serves the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. It contributes around $175 million to the five-state district economy. The 700 employees work at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states. For more information, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.
Release no. 12-030