ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The navigation season on the Upper Mississippi River has opened with the passage of the vessel John M. Rivers through the lock and dam near Hastings. It’s about a week later than average.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports it happened Thursday afternoon. The John M. Rivers and six loaded barges were expected to arrive in St. Paul on Thursday evening.

The corps’ St. Paul District considers the date the first commercial barge uses the lock to move upstream as the opening day of the navigation season for the district.

Officials say the day varies, but the average for the last 10 years has been March 22. In 2010, the first day was March 17.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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