(02/02/2005)
It has been a sight to see, the muddy bottom of the Ohio River and stalled traffic.

The problem has been increasing for several weeks since barges rammed the Belleville Locks and Dam.

The last of the barges have now been removed and the dam is back in operation.

The closure trapped 46 towboats and more than 550 barges below Belleville and above the Willow Island Lock and Dam. It cost towing companies about 400 dollars an hour for their boats to sit idle in the river.

Officials do not have a cost estimate on the closure of the 42-mile section of the Ohio River.

The river has been off limits to barge traffic since January 19th.

The water pool started dropping January 6th when three barges hit the Belleville Lock and Dam in Wood County.

The barges twisted around the structure's concrete piers, keeping the dam's water control gates from closing.


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