Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Upkeep Vital to Success of Tulsa Port of Catoosa, Chairman Says

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Upkeep Vital to Success of Tulsa Port of Catoosa, Chairman Says

Article excerpt

Keeping the Tulsa Port of Catoosa's infrastructure up to date will be crucial to attracting new companies and making sure the port continues to grow, said Stephen Kissee, the new chairman of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority.

I think we're going to have to look at the transportation side a whole lot more than we have to try to get it viable for our industries here, Kissee said Wednesday during a meeting with reporters. That's our main deal, using the river and the waterway and making it viable for all our industries.

A small percentage of the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System, which leads from the Port of New Orleans to the Port of Catoosa, is not 12 feet deep, which affects how much material can be loaded on barges and transported down the waterway. The bulk of the work that needs to be done is in Oklahoma, and some of it is in Arkansas.

A lock-and-dam area near Inola, east of Tulsa, has spots as shallow as 10 feet. Another spot at Webber Falls has quite a bit of stone and rock that has to be removed, and that's pretty expensive to do, said Port of Catoosa director Robert W. Portiss.

Currently, barges can only be loaded to an 8.5-foot draft. Widening the waterway to a 12-foot channel from beginning to end would allow barges to be loaded to an 11.5-foot draft, meaning barges could be filled with more material and efficiency.

Addressing the waterway's depth issues in various spots will cost at least $150 million and take five to seven years of work, according to a feasibility study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Congress has already authorized $7 million towards the work.

Kissee said he believes Oklahoma's congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., will be successful getting enough funding to complete the project.

The port authority has already been investing in some of its infrastructure of late. …

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