Thursday, August 4, 2011
Pere Marquette Guided Through Mississippi River's Lock & Dam 10
Last weekend the temperature and humidity level reached the same number in the mid-90s. Flash floods of northeast Iowa including the Mississippi River valley resulted in a three foot rise in the nation's waterway. As a result Lock & Dam Number 10 (at Guttenberg, Iowa) was opened to allow the swollen river to flow more quickly. On Sunday, Marquette Transportation's 4610 horsepowered Pere Marquette guided a six barg tow downriver towards the lock.
A guide vessel met the Pere Marquette on the lock approach, positioned itself to the port side bow and helped the long assembly through the ungated portion of the lock system.
I have never seen this maneuver before and suspect it is a normal procedure for high water conditions. Otherwise the barges are disconnected, towed into the lock, water levels are drained, gates open and the barges are towed to a staging area while the tow returns for the other upriver barges. Its a long process to complete so I suspect the Pere Marquette's pilot was happy to save several hours of lock time by doing the go-around. Know that.