Traffic restricted on McClellan-Kerr waterway

Until the Army Corps of Engineers moves in dredging machines, commercial navigation along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System in eastern Oklahoma will be restricted.

The Tulsa World reported that Tulsa Port of Catoosa Director David Yarbrough indicated the navigation will remain limited by tow size and also face

Commercial navigation along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is expected to remain limited by tow size and be restricted to daylight hours-only through March, a Tulsa Port of Catoosa Director David Yarbrough said.

The flood of 2019 deposited about 22,000 cubic yards of sediment in the port’s portion of MKARNS, Deputy Port Director Dan Grisham said.

“It’s not blocking our access right now,” he said. “But it will create an issue in the future if we don’t take care of it.”

Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the navigation system is 445 miles long and runs from the Tulsa Port of Catoosa to the Mississippi River.

It supports economic activity across a 12-state region, moving 10.9 million tons of commerce worth $3.5 billion annually, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said last fall.

A total of 115,098 tons of cargo moved through the Port of Catoosa in January, raising to 86,124,184 tons the amount of goods that have gone through the facility since its opening in 1971.

To remove the accumulated silt, the port plans to wait for dredgers working for the corps.

“Typically, they come from the Mississippi and they work their way up,” Grisham said. “With us being at the very end, it’s easy just to tag on when they’re already mobilized instead of mobilizing somebody from the Gulf (of Mexico) or on another system.”

Rodney Beard, navigation project manager for the corps, said the 2019 flood deposited about 1.5 million cubic yards of sediment into the waterway, about half of which has been removed thus far.

“If we get a bunch of rain pretty soon, the dredges will have to cut back,” Beard said. “But right now, if we’re able to keep moving, we’re looking at probably mid- to late May before we get the dredge to around Catoosa.”

Dredging around the Port of Catoosa is scheduled to take about 10 days, he said.

Source: Tulsa World