Coast Guard may reopen river to barge traffic

By the Associated Press | May 23, 2011 | 10:58 AM EDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Coast Guard is likely to allow some Mississippi River barge traffic to resume after an accident closed a nine-mile stretch at Baton Rouge, La., three days ago.

Petty Officer Stephen Lehmann said the Coast Guard expects to allow northbound barges to resume sometime on Monday. Southbound barges would be allowed to travel down the river once the northbound backup is cleared.

The Coast Guard is reviewing plans to remove three barges that sank in the waterway in Baton Rouge on Friday.

Archer Daniels Midland Co., which owns the barges involved in Friday's accident, has submitted a plan for salvaging the wreckage. They were part of a 20-barge tow that was being pushed downriver amid high water and fast currents that have made navigation difficult. One of the barges struck a dock. Two struck a bridge.