Posted on May 31, 2023
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock and Tulsa Districts are seeking public input on the MKARNS 12-foot Channel Deepening Project. Public comment for the draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment will be held between June 5 and July 8.
USACE will hold four public workshops to provide information about the deepening project. The workshops are scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 5 at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Tulsa/Catoosa 201 Elliott Lane, Catoosa, OK, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 6 at the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center 8300 Wells Lake Rd, Ft Smith, AR, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 7 at the Port of Little Rock 10600 Industrial Harbor Drive, Little Rock, AR and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and June 8 at the Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center, 1400 Black Dog Dr., Pine Bluff, AR.
Those interested are encouraged to stop by at any time during the scheduled workshops to leave comments. USACE representatives will be available to answer questions about the project.
The 12-foot Channel Deepening Project will increase the navigation channel to a minimum navigable depth of 12-feet throughout the MKARNS. Deepening the channel will allow the existing inland commercial fleet to sail at deeper drafts that are consistent with those on the Lower Mississippi River. This will allow the commercial fleet to load more cargo onto their barges which will lower transportation costs, benefiting producers and consumers throughout the region and nation.
Roughly $5 billion of goods are moved on the MKARNS annually. By shipping more cargo on the MKARNS versus road or rail, this can aid in the reduction of landside congestion on roads and railways and help to improve air quality since emissions from barges on a ton per mile basis are far less than trucks or rail.
The project will require placing rock structures to scour the channel, dredging the channel and utilizing in-water and upland dredge disposal sites throughout the project area. Additionally, some lock modifications will be needed to accommodate the increase in vessel size that the deepened channel would allow.
Comments must be submitted in writing by July 8 and can be mailed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ATTN: RPEC-12 ft. Channel, 2000 Fort Point Rd, Galveston, TX 77550 or emailed to CESWL-NAV-MKARNS12FOOTCHANNEL@usace.army.mil.
For an on-line fillable comment card and to learn more about the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System 12-foot Channel Deepening Project, visit our website https://www.swl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Planning/MKARNS-12-foot-Channel/.