Coast Guard reopens river to traffic at Caruthersville

Friday, May 6, 2011 ~ Updated 10:04 PM
In this photo made Tuesday, May 3, 2011, a barge makes its way up the flooded Mississippi River at Caruthersville, Mo. The recent onslaught of rain has caused significant flooding on the Mississippi and other rivers in southeast Missouri and the U.S. Coast Guard on Friday, May 6, 2011 closed a five-mile section of the Mississippi at Caruthersville over concerns that the wake from barges could send water spilling over the floodwall protecting the town of 6,700 residents. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The Coast Guard says it is reopening a portion of the Mississippi River to barge traffic after closing it over concerns that the wake from vessels would top flood walls.

The Coast Guard said it would reopen the 5-mile stretch of the swollen river near the Missouri town of Caruthersville on Friday, but didn't give a specific time. The Coast Guard had closed the stretch earlier in the day, fearing that vessel wakes would top the city's front flood wall.

The Coast Guard says it decided to allow limited commercial traffic after the National Weather Service lowered the projected crest at Caruthersville to 48.1 feet from 49.5 feet.

Capt. Michael Gardiner of the Coast Guard says in a news release that river monitoring will continue and that navigation will be restricted when necessary.

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