Port officials: River traffic could halt without Congressional funding
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Locks and dams need more than $100 million in critical overdue maintenance to keep cargo flowing from the Arkansas River to the Mississippi, officials from the Tulsa Port of Catoosa say.
After a record 2012 year that saw more than 2.7 million tons of cargo loaded at the Port, port authority chairman David Page and director Bob Portiss said that even a slight problem on neglected locks and dams could bring river traffic to a halt.
“These changes not only threaten our future growth, but our very existence,” Page said.
Portiss said the $100 million in repairs are only items deemed critical by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, meaning equipment and facilities that have a significant chance of failure in the next five years.
But federal funding has been hard to come by and while Congress allocated $11 million to projects last year, it only covered a fraction of the needs on the aging infrastructure, Portiss said.
The 445-mile long McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System has 18 locks and dams between Catoosa and the Mississippi River.