By Kavanaugh Breazeale, USACEJune 13, 2012
Marksville, Louisiana -- Due to the recent low water conditions on the Red River, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District (Corps), has partnered with the Red River Waterway Commission and the Red River Valley Association in using the contracted vessel, Dredge America to ensure an adequate navigation channel below L.C. Boggs Lock and Dam. As a result, the channel presently has good depths and traffic is moving normally. However, as a safety precaution during these low flows, the channel will be closed during the night / evening hours of 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
To address additional dredging needs on the Red River this year, the Corps recently awarded a dredging contract to the Inland Dredge Company, Inc., Dyersburg, Tennessee. The Dredge Integrity will initiate normal annual dredging on the Red River approximately 30 June. The Corps will continue to work closely with the Red River Waterway Commission and the Red River Valley Association concerning all dredging needs on the JBJ Waterway Project.
In addition, repairs to the lower miter gates on L.C. Boggs Lock and Dam are ongoing but will not affect daytime navigation traffic. Repairs are being performed during the night time hours while the channel is closed and are expected to be complete by 22 June 2012.
Adequate funding should be available for dredging on the Red River for FY 2012. However recent budget trends have indicated that future dredging funds will be reduced. The Vicksburg District will continue to work with users of the Red River Waterways to secure funds necessary to keep the waterway navigable at all times.
The J. Bennett Johnston Waterway opened in December 1994 and was the culmination of more than 150 years of effort by local citizens to provide a safe, dependable, navigation system for the Red River. The project consists of a 9-foot deep by 200-foot wide navigation channel that commences at the confluence of Old and Red Rivers and proceeds upstream for 236 miles to the Shreveport-Bossier City area. It holds five navigation locks and can accommodate a standard 6-barge tow and towboat in a single lockage.