Dredging underway along Mississippi River in Winona County, MN

WINONA COUNTY, Minn. (WEAU) -- A stretch of the Mississippi River in our area is closed to tow traffic.

Three dredges are working along the Mississippi River in Winona County, Minnesota, at Port 6 which is from river mile 718 to 724.

“It's rare to have three dredges working in the same location. We have some co-workers that have been around a long time, 20, 30 years, and they've never seen three dredges that had to operate within this small of a stretch of river,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers channel maintenance coordinator Dan Cottrell.

Channel maintenance coordinator Dan Cottrell with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the area has been closed since early last week because a tow boat ran a ground.

He said the corps surveyed the area, and found three locations were less than nine feet deep.

“We need to dredge it as fast as we can in order to put tow traffic back through,” said Cottrell.

Cottrell said a channel needs to be at least nine feet deep for a tow to pass through safely.

“The towboats could hit ground as well as the loaded barges, and depending on what they're hauling there could be a major incident both for the product that could be lost, and also for the environment where you'd have damaged barges or something that could leak into the river,” said Cottrell.

Dredging started on Friday, and some of it could be done early next week.

It could take several weeks before the work is completely done.

Dredging was also done in Alma last week.

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