AP NEWS

Commission studies plan to extend navigation on Red River

March 2, 2019

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas commission is examining whether to extend navigation of the Red River into the southwestern part of the state.

The Arkansas Red River Commission funded a study with the Army Corps of Engineers and Gulf Engineers & Consultants to determine how much could be saved by broadening river navigation to accommodate the shipments of goods that are currently transported by railroad. The commission is looking to extend navigation to the border of Little River and Miller counties in Arkansas and Bowie County in Texas, the Texarkana Gazette reported.

The study found that about 10 businesses and 25 unique shipment traffic flows could benefit from expanding navigation on the Red River, said Dan York, the commission’s chairman. Farming and nonmetallic minerals industries would also benefit from the plan, York said.

“The study considered the costs associated with constructing, operating and maintaining three locks and dams, one in Louisiana and two in Arkansas,” York said. “There would be benefits associated with potential terminals at Garland and Fulton, Arkansas.”

York said the study ultimately determined that extending navigation on the waterway could save about $75 million annually in shipping costs.

The University of Tennessee helped evaluate some survey results and possible transportation savings.

Because of the study’s favorable findings, the groups are now trying to fund a feasibility study to figure out whether there’s enough of a cost benefit to begin construction, said Richard Brontoli, the commission’s administrator.

Brontoli said the commission is considering splitting the cost of the feasibility study with the Army Corps of Engineers. He said it’s unclear how much the study will cost.

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Information from: Texarkana Gazette, http://www.texarkanagazette.com

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