The commercial shipping season on the Mississippi River in St. Paul officially opened Monday evening with the arrival of the first towboat.
The U-S Army Corps of Engineers says the Motor Vessel Roberta Tabor arrived in St.Paul at 8:00 p.m. Monday pushing 12 barges.
The tow managed to make it through Lake Pepin's 12 to 16 inches of ice.
The average opening date of the navigation season over the last 30 years has been March 20th. Last year the first tow reached St. Paul on March 17th.
The commercial shipping season officially opened in Winona on March 30th when two towboats made it to the commercial harbor. They each dropped off their barges and went back south.
The earliest opening in the Twin Cities is March 4th, in 1983, 1984, and 2000. The latest opening, unrelated to flooding, was April 4th, 2008.
This year's opening is the latest on record except for the May 11th, 2001, opening that was caused by flooding which delayed that opening.