ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Coast Guard has closed down a stretch of the Mississippi River near St. Louis to recreational boats because of the waterway's high levels.

The shutdown announced Thursday runs from Granite City just north of St. Louis to the Jefferson Barracks Bridge south of the city.

The Coast Guard says the move was necessary to ensure safety as the river's levels at St. Louis approached flood stage. The National Weather Service expects the river to rise another foot and a half before cresting early Saturday.

The Coast Guard expects to reopen the stretch to recreational traffic early next week.