Two federal lawmakers got a firsthand look Monday at efforts to clear bedrock that's putting a strain on barge traffic on the Mississippi River.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Ill., were briefed about the work near Thebes, Illinois by Army Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard officials.
They toured the site by boat before addressing reporters.
Durbin said he's optimistic about progress so far and feels that crews need continue to stay ahead of dropping water levels.
"The Army Corps of Engineers has arrived and brought some of the best, most modern technological resources to work on this river to make sure that it's navigable," Durbin said.
Corps officials say they're able to maintain a 9-foot channel so barge traffic can keep moving.
Trade groups say a river shutdown could affect more than 8,000 jobs and cost $54 million in wages and benefits