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Officials: Ice in Mississippi River Delays Traffic

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Barge operators say persistent ice in the Mississippi River is delaying traffic along the water by about a month.

The Telegraph Herald reports some operators begin sending their barges up and down the river in early March. But the bitter cold this winter and frigid start to the spring has changed the schedule.

The National Weather Service says the Mississippi still has ice in a stretch of river that extends from Minneapolis to Clinton in Iowa. The depth of the ice varies from 5 to 10 inches.

Some operators have utilized others forms of transportation in the meantime, including rail.

The National Grain and Feed Association gives official word on the opening of the river. Spokeswoman Heather McElrath says that declaration could come as early as April 1.

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