Fair Landing, Arkansas,
Nov. 10, 2014
-- Near constant communication between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the
navigation industry and the U.S. Coast Guard is allowing commercial barge
traffic to safely pass a restricted section of the lower Mississippi River (miles
632–635) near Fair Landing, Ark., and 30 miles south of Helena, Ark., with most
delays less than 10 hours.
Corps and Coast Guard imposed river restrictions during daylight hours along
this narrow river reach to allow for important repairs to the banks damaged
during the Great Flood of 2011. The annual bank protection (revetment) program must
be performed when river levels permit (typically between August and December).
The work can’t be performed during high river stages, which typically occur
during the rest of the year. Annual revetment work ensures reliable navigation,
flood control and flood risk reduction. During the last two days maintenance work
at Fair Landing, approximately 60 tows pushing a total of 497 southbound and
324 northbound barges have waited.
Gen. Michael Wehr, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, was on site
today and he said, “We are committed to keeping the river open each day until
the queue of barges passes the restricted area.” He added, “If for some reason
the queue has not cleared by daylight, we will postpone beginning our revetment
work until all of the vessels are through this section of the river.” Commerce
is able to move on the river from dusk to dawn.
Corps and Coast Guard are also re-buoying this three-mile section of river to help
widen the channel. A northbound 24 barge test tow successfully passed through
the widened river section, and we understand the urgency to quickly open for
larger tows. This will help speed the clearing of the daily queue as limited
size northbound barges can pass the work area during daylight hours. Work is
also proceeding well in the narrowest reach of the restricted area and fewer
restrictions may result as early as Monday, November 17. At that time, the
sinking unit will move to a wider section of Fair Landing.
Corps will continue its frequent dialogue with industry representatives and
Coast Guard officials to deliver the high value commercial artery, and to assess
the situation. Future decisions will be based on the needs of commerce and river
conditions so that river traffic will experience limited delays.
Release no. 14-014