Barge traffic shut down at Caruthersville

Friday, May 6, 2011 | 1:18 p.m. CDT

CARUTHERSVILLE — The U.S. Coast Guard has closed a section of the Mississippi River to barge traffic over concerns that the wake from barges could increase the flood risk at Caruthersville in southeast Missouri.

The town of 6,700 residents is seeing record flooding, with a crest of 49.5 feet expected early Monday. That would reach within a half-foot of the top of the flood wall. The Missouri National Guard has constructed a sandbag levee and earthen berms in an effort to catch any spillover.

The Coast Guard says that starting Friday, barge traffic is prohibited over a five-mile stretch of the river at Caruthersville for an estimated eight days, depending on conditions.

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