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The Boston Globe

Nation

Race to keep Mississippi open

ST. LOUIS — Efforts taken to keep a crucial stretch of the drought-starved Mississippi River open to barge traffic should be sufficient to avert a shipping shutdown that the industry fears is imminent, Army Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard officials said Friday.

The corps said crews have made ‘‘fantastic’’ progress in recent weeks clearing treacherous bedrock from a channel about 150 miles south of St. Louis near Thebes, Ill. — the portion of the river that has grown especially worrisome to the barge operators who move an array of cargo to northern states and south to the Gulf of Mexico.

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