|McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System|
Big Dam Bridge is a footbridge built atop the Murray Lock and Dam in Little Rock, Arkansas
(Lock #11 was never constructed however Montgomery point, Lock 99, was added after construction was completed)
|Original number of locks||17|
|Navigation authority||Corps of Engineers|
|Construction began||1963 - 1971|
|Date of first use||January 1971|
|End point||Tulsa Port of Catoosa|
|Branch(es)||Arkansas Post Canal|
The McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) is part of the inland waterway system originating at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and running southeast through Oklahoma and Arkansas to the Mississippi River. The system was named for two Senators: Robert S. Kerr (D-OK) and John L. McClellan (D-AR), who pushed authorizing legislation through Congress. The system officially opened June 5, 1971. President Richard M. Nixon attended the opening ceremony.It is operated by the Corps of Engineers.
The inland waterways of the United States include more than 25,000 mi (40,000 km) of navigable waters. Much of the commercially important waterways of the United States consist of the Mississippi River System—the Mississippi River and connecting waterways.
The Tulsa Port of Catoosa (TPOC) is near the city of Catoosa in Rogers County, just inside the municipal fenceline of Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States. Located at the head of navigation for the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, it handles shipping loads through its waterway access to the Arkansas River via the Verdigris River. TPOC offers year round, ice-free barge service with river flow levels controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It encompasses an area of 2,500 acres (10 km2) and employs over 4,000 people at over 70 companies in its industrial park. The port ships manufactured goods and agricultural products from Oklahoma to the rest of the world. Designated a foreign trade zone, it is a major economic engine for the region with over 2.7 million tons of cargo shipped through the Port in 2013 alone.
Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.
Though it primarily follows the Arkansas River, it also follows portions of the Verdigris River in Oklahoma and the White River in Arkansas. It also includes the Arkansas Post Canal, a short canal named for nearby Arkansas Post National Memorial, connecting the Arkansas and White Rivers.
The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. It generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's source basin lies in the western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas River Valley, where the headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. It then flows east into the Midwest via Kansas, and finally into the South through Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The Verdigris River is a tributary of the Arkansas River in southeastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma in the United States. It is about 310 miles (500 km) long. Via the Arkansas, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed.
Canals, or navigations, are human-made channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicles.
Through Oklahoma and Arkansas, dams artificially deepen and widen this modest sized river to build it into a commercially navigable body of water. The design enables traffic to overcome an elevation difference of 420 feet (130 m) between the Mississippi River and the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. Along the section of the Arkansas River that carries the McClellan-Kerr channel, the river sustains commercial barge traffic and offers passenger and recreational use and is a series of reservoirs. Total length of the system is 445 miles (716 km).
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) officially announced in early May 2015 that it had upgraded MKARNS from "Connector" to "Corridor" on the National Marine Highway. The announcement also added the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) as an official sponsor.
In 2015, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers had increased its designation of the MKARNS from a moderate-use to a high-use waterway system. The high-use designation means that a waterway carries more than 10 million tons per year, having a value of more than 12 million ton-miles per year.
The Arkansas River is very shallow through Arkansas and Oklahoma, and was naturally incapable of supporting river traffic through most of the year. To allow for navigation, construction was started in 1963 on a system of channels and locks to connect the many reservoirs along the length of the Arkansas River. The first section, running to Little Rock, Arkansas, opened on January 1, 1969. The first barge to reach the Port of Catoosa arrived in early 1971.
Little Rock is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As the county seat of Pulaski County, the city was incorporated on November 7, 1831, on the south bank of the Arkansas River close to the state's geographic center. The city derives its name from a rock formation along the river, named the "Little Rock" by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in the 1720s. The capital of the Arkansas Territory was moved to Little Rock from Arkansas Post in 1821. The city's population was 198,541 in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau. The six-county Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 78th in terms of population in the United States with 738,344 residents according to the 2017 estimate by the United States Census Bureau.
Each lock measures 110 feet (34 m) wide and 600 feet (180 m) long, the standard size for much of the Mississippi River waterway. Standard jumbo barges, measuring 35 by 195 feet (59 m), are grouped 3 wide by 3 long, with a tug at center rear, to form a barge tow which can be fit into a lock. Larger barge tows must be broken down and passed through the lock in sections, and rejoined on the opposite side.
The specifications for the channel itself are as follows:
Although Congress originally authorized USACE to dredge the channel to a depth of 12 ft (3.7 m) in 2005, it did not provide the funds to do so. ODOT says that the capacity of each barge could be increased by 200 tons for each foot of draft. An article in 2010 stated that much of MKARNS is already 12 feet (3.7 m)deep, so that only about 75 miles (121 km) would need to be deepened. The article quoted Lt. Col. Gene Snyman, then deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Tulsa District, as saying such a project would cost about $170 million (2010 dollars).
The following tables list the features of the navigation system, from the Mississippi River to the origin at the Port of Catoosa. Except as noted, all locks are on the Arkansas River.
There is no lock 11; sequentially, it would have been in the middle of Lake Dardanelle. Per the animated system map (see "External links"), Dardanelle Lock & Dam (lock 10), which forms Lake Dardanelle, is the highest facility on the system (54 feet between upper & lower pools); Ozark-Jeta Taylor Lock & Dam (lock 12), just above that lake, is the third highest (34 feet). Thus, it is likely that those two facilities were redesigned, in terms of height and possibly location, so as to eliminate lock 11 as originally planned. The Mississippi River lock is numbered lock 99 as it was added to the system after it was completed.
from Mississippi River
| Montgomery Point Lock and Dam |
|0.5 mi (0.80 km)||White River|
| Norrell Lock and Dam |
|10.3 mi (16.6 km)||Arkansas Post Canal|
|Lock 2||13.3 mi (21.4 km)||Arkansas Post Canal|
|Wilbur D. Mills Dam||19 mi (31 km)||Arkansas County /Desha County|
| Joe Hardin Lock and Dam |
|50.2 mi (80.8 km)||Jefferson County|
| Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam |
|66.0 mi (106.2 km)||Pine Bluff|
| Col. Charles D. Maynard Lock and Dam |
|86.3 mi (138.9 km)||Jefferson County|
| David D. Terry Lock and Dam |
|108.1 mi (174.0 km)||Pulaski County|
| Murray Lock and Dam |
|125.4 mi (201.8 km)||Little Rock|
| Toad Suck Ferry Lock and Dam |
|155.9 mi (250.9 km)||Conway|
| Arthur V. Ormond Lock and Dam |
|176.9 mi (284.7 km)||Morrilton|
| Dardanelle Lock and Dam |
|205.5 mi (330.7 km)||Dardanelle /Russellville|
|Lock 11||Never Constructed|
| Ozark-Jeta Taylor Lock and Dam |
|256.8 mi (413.3 km)||Ozark|
| James W. Trimble Lock and Dam |
|292.8 mi (471.2 km)||Barling|
| W. D. Mayo Lock and Dam |
|319.6 mi (514.3 km)||Fort Coffee|
| Robert S. Kerr Lock and Dam |
|336.2 mi (541.1 km)||Sallisaw|
| Webbers Falls Lock and Dam |
|366.7 mi (590.1 km)||Webbers Falls|
| Chouteau Lock & Dam |
|401.4 mi (646.0 km)||Wagoner (Verdigris River)|
| Newt Graham Lock and Dam |
|421.6 mi (678.5 km)||Inola (Verdigris River)|
|Port of Catoosa||445 mi (716 km)||Catoosa (Verdigris River)|
The growth of business along MKARNS has greatly increased congestion at the locks. The Secretary of the Army has directed the Corps of Engineers to establish the following priorities for admitting vessels to each lock:
There is no minimum size for watercraft using the locks. Craft as small as canoes, dinghies, kayaks have all been allowed to use the locks, either alone or with multiple other vessels at the same time. If commercial traffic is heavy, pleasure craft may be required to wait approximately 1.5 hours or may be allowed to lock through with commercial vessels.
The Fox–Wisconsin Waterway is a waterway formed by the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. First used by European settlers in 1673 during the expedition of Marquette & Joliet, it was one of the principal routes used by travelers between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River until the completion of the Illinois and Michigan Canal in 1848 and the arrival of railroads. The western terminus of the Fox–Wisconsin Waterway was at the Mississippi at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. It continued up the Wisconsin River about 116 miles (187 km) until reaching Portage, Wisconsin. There travelers would portage to the Upper Fox River, or eventually, use the Portage Canal. It continued about 160 miles (257 km) down the Fox River, following it through Lake Winnebago and continuing on the Lower Fox over 170 feet of falls to the eastern terminus of Green Bay.
The Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway is a 234-mile (377 km) man-made waterway that extends from the Tennessee River to the junction of the Black Warrior-Tombigbee River system near Demopolis, Alabama, United States. The Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway links commercial navigation from the nation's midsection to the Gulf of Mexico. The major features of the waterway are ten locks and dams, a 175-foot-deep (53 m) cut between the Tombigbee River watershed and the Tennessee River watershed, and 234 miles (377 km) of navigation channels. The ten locks are 9 by 110 by 600 feet, the same dimension as the locks on the Mississippi above Lock and Dam 26 at Alton, Illinois. Under construction for twelve years by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway was completed in December 1984 at a total cost of nearly $2 billion.
The Okeechobee Waterway or Okeechobee Canal is a relatively shallow man-made waterway in the United States, stretching across Florida from Fort Myers on the west coast to Stuart on Florida's east coast. The waterway can support tows such as barges or private vessels up to 50 feet wide x 250 feet long which draw less than 10 feet, as parts of the system, especially the locks may have low water depths of just ten feet. The system of channels runs through Lake Okeechobee and consists of the Caloosahatchee River to the west of the lake and the St. Lucie Canal (C-44) east of the lake.
The Industrial Canal is a 5.5 mile (9 km) waterway in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The waterway's proper name, as used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and on NOAA nautical charts, is Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC). The more common "Industrial Canal" name is used locally, both by commercial mariners and by landside residents.
The Illinois Waterway system consists of 336 miles (541 km) of water from the mouth of the Calumet River to the mouth of the Illinois River at Grafton, Illinois. It is a system of rivers, lakes, and canals which provide a shipping connection from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico via the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. The Illinois and Michigan Canal opened in 1849. In 1900, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal replaced it and reversed the flow of the Chicago River so it no longer flowed into Lake Michigan. The United States Army Corps of Engineers maintains a 9-foot-deep (2.7 m) navigation channel in the waterway. The waterway's complex northern section is referred to in various contexts for study and management as the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS).
The Upper Mississippi River is the portion of the Mississippi River upstream of Cairo, Illinois, United States. From the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, the river flows approximately 2000 kilometers (1250 mi) to Cairo, where it is joined by the Ohio River to form the Lower Mississippi River.
Lake Dardanelle is a major reservoir on the Arkansas River in Arkansas, USA. and is an integral part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS), which allows barge transportation from the Mississippi River to the Tulsa Port of Catoosa in northeastern Oklahoma. MKARNS went into service along its full length in 1971.
Kentucky Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Tennessee River on the county line between Livingston and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of Kentucky. The dam is the lowermost of nine dams on the river owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which built the dam in the late 1930s and early 1940s to improve navigation on the lower part of the river and reduce flooding on the lower Ohio and Mississippi rivers. It was a major project initiated during the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, to invest in infrastructure to benefit the country. The dam impounds the Kentucky Lake of 160,000 acres (65,000 ha), which is the largest of TVA's reservoirs and the largest artificial lake by area in the Eastern United States. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.
Robert S. Kerr Reservoir is located within the Cookson Hills, on the Arkansas River in Sequoyah, Le Flore, Haskell, and Muskogee counties in eastern Oklahoma, US. It is about eight miles south of the nearest major town, Sallisaw, Oklahoma. The reservoir is impounded by Robert S. Kerr Lock and Dam at river mile 336.2 on the Arkansas River, just a few miles below its confluence with the Canadian River. The lock and dam are part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which provides for barge navigation on the Arkansas River and some of its tributaries. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains the locks and navigation system.
Webbers Falls Lake, also known as Webbers Falls Reservoir, is a reservoir created by a lock and dam on the Arkansas River in Muskogee County, Oklahoma. The normal elevation is 490 feet (150 m). It has 157 miles (253 km) of shoreline and a surface area of 11,600 acres (47,000,000 m2). The drainage area of the lake is 97,033 square miles (251,310 km2). It is an integral part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which was completed in 1971.
The W. D. Mayo Lock and Dam on the Arkansas River is an integral part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS). The dam is located at navigation mile 319.6, about 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Fort Smith, Arkansas. It is the first lock and dam west of the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line. It was named for a deceased Sallisaw, Oklahoma businessman who was also a civic leader and champion of fully developing the river. The number 14 designates this facility as the fourteenth in sequence from the start of MKARNS. It lies in LeFlore and Sequoyah Counties, Oklahoma.
Wilbur D. Mills Dam is a steel dam and generating facility located on the Arkansas River in Arkansas County and Desha County, Arkansas, United States.
Newt Graham Lock & Dam is the final lock and dam of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) before reaching the western terminus, Tulsa Port of Catoosa on the Verdigris River. The lock and dam is 24.8 miles (39.9 km) downstream of the port.
Chouteau Lock & Dam, also identified as Chouteau Lock & Dam 17, is 17th lock and dam of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) from the Mississippi River to its terminus at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, and is the first lock and dam on the Verdigris River in Oklahoma, just above the Three Forks junction with the Arkansas River. The lock is about 4 miles (6.4 km) northwest of Okay in Wagoner County, Oklahoma. Construction of this facility started in 1966 and was completed in 1970. The estimated cost of Chouteau Lock & Dam was $ 31.8 million.
John Paul Hammerschmidt Lake is a reservoir on the Arkansas River and an integral part of the McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS). It was formed by constructing the James W. Trimble Lock & Dam 13 across the river, near the city of Barling, Arkansas and extends upriver 26 miles (42 km) to W. D. Mayo Lock and Dam, which is located inside the state of Oklahoma. Although the Trimble facility was completed in 1969, it was not allowed to pass commercial barges until 1971, when upstream facilities were completed.