High River Levels Stop Port Of Catoosa Barge Traffic

Thursday, June 18th 2015, 9:52 am
By: News On 6

The Port of Catoosa says high water along the entire McClellan-Kerr Arkansas Navigation System has brought barge traffic to a standstill.

They say boats have been unable to navigate most of the 445-mile long waterway since early May and it could be early July before shipping returns to normal.

While navigation has suffered, the Corps of Engineers has utilized the same network of dams and reservoirs that make cargo transportation possible to tame the Verdigris, Arkansas, and White rivers that make up the navigation system.

"It's important to remind everyone that the construction of the MKARNS project was not just about cargo shipping, but also flood control -- especially for the Arkansas River," said David Page, Chairman of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority.

"The Arkansas routinely overflowed its banks, several times, throughout the first half of the 20th century, causing loss of life and property. But now, because of the MKARNS, and the fine work of the US Army Corps of Engineers, these events are exceedingly rare."

6/16/2015 Related Story: Corps Of Engineers On Oklahoma Lake Flood Watch

Officials say total shipping for the entire McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System in May was also approximately 60% lower than normal, at 347,336 tons. Barge cargo total for the Port of Catoosa in May was 48,806 tons.