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First tow through Lock 2 kicks off navigation season the Mississippi

March 18, 2024   Enter


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The first towboat of 2024 passed through Lock and Dam 2, in Hastings, Minn. on Sunday, signaling the start of this year's navigation season on the Mississippi River.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' St. Paul District said it considers the first tow to arrive at Lock and Dam 2 as the unofficial start of the Mississippi River navigation season, because it means all of its locks are accessible to commercial and recreational vessels.


On Sunday, Marquette Transportation Company's Joseph Patrick Eckstein traveled through the lock with 12 barges en route to St. Paul, Minn.


The March 17 kick-off date is a few days ahead of the navigation season's average start date of March 22. The earliest date for an upbound tow to reach Lock and Dam 2 was March 4, in 1983, 1984 and 2000, the Corps said.


The first tow in 2023 arrived on March 12, when the Ingram vessel Philip M. Pfeffer pushed six barges through Lock and Dam 2. The last tow of 2023 happened on December 5, when Marquette's Thomas E. Erickson departed Lock and Dam 10 near Guttenberg, Iowa.


This winter, four locks and dams were closed for maintenance, including locks 2, 3, 4 and 7, and that work was completed March 16.