Bill Hobgood, the executive director of the Ouachita River Valley Association said that the Ouachita River’s navigation project remains at high risk of being abandoned by the Army Corps of Engineers during the next decade.
“This could be the beginning of the end for this project,” Hobgood said.
According to The News Star, the corps began a new lock operation schedule on the river this week that reduced service from 24 hours to 18 hours at the two Louisiana locks and from 24 hours to 16 hours on the two Arkansas locks.
“We fought this thing as hard as we could as an organization; virtually all of the stakeholders were opposed to the reduction in service,” Hobgood said. “We believe it should be operated as was authorized by Congress to operate: 24/7 365. But the stakeholders’ opinions were ignored, and the corps implemented the plan.”
Hobgood said the project needs a bare bones annual budget of about $10.6 million for operations and dredging, but that was cut to $7.5 million in 2011, 2012 and projected 2013, reports The News Star.
Dredging Today Staff, August 3, 2012