Green County ports are back open after May's flooding, but still have issues with traffic flow.
Barges are coming into Muskogee County and the Port of Catoosa again after months of issues caused by flooding in May but there is still a long road ahead to get full traffic flowing on the river.
Muskogee County District 1 Commissioner Ken Doke says he was watching as the first barge came into view.
Doke says the county was dealing with a two million dollar a day loss for a time. Companies had to lay off employees, and shut down entire lines. Doke says they had to repair the damage to the Webbers Falls dam, now that that task is behind them there are new obstacles. There is sediment that has gotten into the channel making it impossible in some areas for barges to get through. They are working with the Corps of Engineers and the Governor’s office.
“Just seeing that first barge make it through and come back up, it was just like 'aww thank goodness.' You could just breathe a sigh of relief thinking 'okay, there is hope that we are going to have some barges back in here and hopefully restock these companies.' We still have hundreds of barges down south that are waiting to come here," says Doke.
Leadership at Port of Catoosa says they are waiting on federal funding to come through in order to finish dredging. Until then, they say they are allowing 6 barges max per tow instead of the usual 12.