The Port of Catoosa may be the key to getting the new Boeing plant in Tulsa

Monday, September 8th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Luring a Boeing assembly plant to Tulsa. One of the advantages in attracting the 7E7 plant is the Port of Catoosa.

The 7E7 will be made from very large, pre-assembled sections that will have to be moved by water. But then what? News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg tells us Boeing will want to know how to get the parts from the Port to the factory.

Hundreds upon hundreds of trucks leave the Port of Catoosa every day, but where do they go? If Tulsa is lucky enough to get the 7E7, the factory would almost certainly be at the airport. "We have a really easy route from the Port along 46th Street North."

Reports say the 7E7 parts would be so large that even a sharp turn could cause a problem. Bob Portiss says people have been asking a lot of questions about what kind of oversized cargo they can handle. "They just say can you handle these types of containers, some of which I recall were gosh 26 feet high and the answer is of course."

The trip between Port and Airport is just a 5-mile shot that fortunately is free of any overpasses or tight turns. There are some power lines, but Portiss says they've dealt with those with other large cargo. Portiss says they could just raise the wires long enough for the trucks to go past or they could simply install taller poles. He says as infrastructure headaches go, poles are no big deal.

Coincidentally, Portiss says they studied this very scenario when McDonnell Douglas wanted to move plane fuselages from the Port to its former factory at the airport. "That was the MD-12 plant that we were approached on back in the mid-1990's. I think had more difficulties and more challenges than this particular project does."

Portiss says they would have been able to truck the fuselage to the airport. But the MD-12 was never built.

The Port of Catoosa is hoping they'll get to finally show their stuff with the 7E7.