- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

MONTEREY, La. (AP) - Officials are trying to prevent a broken gear shaft from causing quite the traffic jam along the Ouachita River.

A gear shaft belonging to the Jonesville lock broke Monday after submerged drift wood slammed into a canal lock gate, The News-Star reports (https://tnsne.ws/1KD3EFY).

So far barges have been able to bypass the lock by using a navigation pass in Jonesville, but the pass is only a viable option when the river level is high.

Greg Raimondo, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Vicksburg District, says the river level is dropping and estimates the river level will become too low for barges to use the navigation pass by Wednesday or Thursday.

The gear shaft is currently being repaired. Raimondo says the lock could become operational again by May 10.

Bill Hobgood, executive director of the Ouachita River Valley Association, said shippers have been notified and are making adjustments.

“The corps has been very responsive and has its best people on the repair job,” Hobgood said. “They’re expediting the process as much as they can.”

Hobgood said the biggest effects of any traffic delays will be in terms of fuel distribution.

Placid Oil owns the Archie Terminal in Catahoula Parish and the Monroe Terminal in southern Ouachita Parish. The two terminals supply fuel to many retail distributors in central and northeastern Louisiana.

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Information from: The News-Star, https://www.thenewsstar.com

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