River repairs will help commerce on the Mississippi River system

Published Nov. 10, 2014
Mat sinking unit photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Mat sinking unit photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Fair Landing, Arkansas, Nov. 10, 2014 – River repairs to severe bank scours along the Mississippi River at Fair Landing will lead to enduring improvements to the vital commercial artery. The narrow bend along this reach of the river now passes one-way traffic under normal conditions, the ongoing repairs and future improvement work will allow two-way traffic to pass.


The Corps and Coast Guard imposed river restrictions during daylight hours along this narrow river reach to allow for the important repairs to the banks damaged during the 2011 flood. 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 three days, approximately 77 tows, with each pushing an average of 15 barges, have waited between 8 to 10 hours while the work progresses.


Maj. Gen. Michael Wehr, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, said, “We fully realize how important it is to keep commerce moving on the Mississippi River during harvest season.”  He added, “We are in constant dialogue with industry and the Coast Guard to minimize the impact to navigation, while accomplishing critical flood control and flood risk reduction work before the next high water hits the region.” He concluded, “We are willing and prepared to make adjustments to our revetment start time each day as traffic conditions warrant.”  The river queue is cleared every morning before starting work on the matt sinking unit.

Southbound commerce is currently able to move on the river from dusk to dawn, and limited sized tows can move northbound through the restricted portion of the river during daylight hours. This will help speed the clearing of the daily queue. 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.

The 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.


Bob Anderson

Release no. 14-015