Dredging & Marine Construction

Corps Seeks Input On MKARNS Deepening

The Corps of Engineers is seeking public input on a proposal to deepen the navigation channel on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) to 12 feet.

The Corps’ Little Rock and Tulsa districts will hold four workshops this week to provide information about the project and will accept public comments between June 5 and July 8.

The subject is the draft Supplemental Environmental Assessment for the MKARNS 12-Foot Channel Deepening Project. The project would 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 load barges to deeper drafts that are consistent with those on the Lower Mississippi River. This will lower transportation costs, benefiting producers and consumers throughout the region and nation, the Corps said in a public notice.

Roughly $5 billion in 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.

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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, the Corps said. Additionally, some lock modifications will be needed to accommodate the increase in vessel size that the deepened channel would allow.

Public Workshops

The workshops will provide information about the deepening project. The workshops—all of which will run from 4 to 7 p.m.—are scheduled as follows:

  • June 5—Homewood Suites by Hilton Tulsa/Catoosa, 201 Elliott Lane, Catoosa, Okla.;
  • June 6—Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, 8300 Wells Lake Road, Fort Smith, Ark.;
  • June 7—Port of Little Rock, 10600 Industrial Harbor Drive, Little Rock, Ark.; and
  • June 8—Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center, 1400 Black Dog Drive, Pine Bluff, Ark.

Those interested are encouraged to stop by at any time during the scheduled workshops to leave comments. Corps representatives will be available to answer questions about the project.

Public Comments

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 online fillable comment card and to learn more about the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System 12-foot Channel Deepening Project, visit the project website: www.swl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Planning/MKARNS-12-foot-Channel/.