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The Atchafalaya River Bar Channel should be properly dredged and open to vessel traffic by early 2019. Many people in the Tri-City area’s maritime industry have been awaiting that news for several years. The Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Commission met Monday. Millions of dollars in additional funds to dredge waterways in the Port of Morgan City’s district potentially will ensure the channel is dredged to its congressionally authorized depth, said Tim Connell, Atchafalaya region manager for the U.S.Army Corps of  Engineers, during Monday’s meeting.  “This is definitely the most optimistic I’ve been since I’ve been involved,” Connell said.

Officials with the Port of Morgan City and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working with businesses to ensure all of the tonnage that passes through the port is accounted for so that the port can receive adequate long-term funding. The Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Commission met Monday. Tom Podany, director of the Corps’ waterborne commerce statistics division, was in Morgan City Monday for a stakeholders meeting to discuss the reporting of tonnage that travels through the port waterways.

higgins
U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins’ No. 1 priority in Congress is to ensure south Louisiana’s ports get the dredging funds they were promised and can be economic engines for the region, he said Monday. Higgins, R-Lafayette, visited the Port of Morgan City’s Government Emergency Operations Center for a stakeholders meeting with officials in the area. Port Executive Director Raymond “Mac” Wade spent the day with Higgins showing him the Morgan City area and explaining the economic boost that having region’s waterways adequately dredged could provide. Higgins, who took office in January, said he’s studied the challenges associated with channel dredging “and the ridiculous failure of the federal government to live up to its mandate” and promise to south Louisiana. He represents Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers areas from Morgan City to Lake Charles.

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U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy called Monday for decreasing regulations on industry to boost Louisiana’s economy along with making reforms to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and health care. Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, had a town hall meeting Monday at the Port of Morgan City’s Government Emergency Operations Center. The country has to have an economy that creates better jobs for working class families.

By: ZACHARY FITZGERALD
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Port of Morgan City leaders say they are relieved to have a roughly one-mile section of the Atchafalaya River dredged and back open to vessel traffic. They are now focusing on a dredge demonstration downriver that they hope will allow officials to keep a 12-mile stretch of the waterway open year-round. Emergency dredging in the Atchafalaya River to remove a 6,000-foot-long plug of sand is complete, officials said during Monday’s Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Commission meeting.

BY ZACHARY FITZGERALD
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Port officials expect the projected 8-foot crest in the Atchafalaya River to exacerbate the buildup of sediment in the Atchafalaya River Bar Channel, Port of Morgan City Executive Director Raymond “Mac” Wade said. The Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Commission met Monday. National Weather Service forecasters expect the river to crest March 24 near 8 feet in Morgan City. As of this morning, the river was at 5.8 feet in Morgan City near the 6-foot flood stage. The forecast shows the river reaching 7.2 feet Saturday. The temporary flood protection structure is still in place on Bayou Chene and will hold back almost 2 feet high of water if the river reaches 8 feet, Wade said. There hasn’t been any discussion about opening the Morganza Spillway because the Mississippi River levels aren’t high enough, Port Economic Development Manager Cindy Cutrera said. “We’re getting all of this water from the Red River,” Cutrera said. More high water means more sediment buildup in the Atchafalaya River Bar Channel, Wade said. The channel is congressionally authorized to be dredged to 20 feet deep, but the Corps only has funds to dredge a couple of months a year. “We’ve already got a bad problem. It’s just going to make it worse,” Wade said. Some vessels, including import-export ships, cannot travel to the Port of Morgan City right now due to the sediment buildup. The port has about $5.6 million left in dredging funds for the next six months that will all go toward a dredging demonstration using a self-propelled hopper dredge, Wade said.

Affiliations

National Waterways Conference Gulf Ports Assoc of the Americas Louisiana Industrial Develpment Esecutives Assoc Ports Association of Louisiana Gulf Intracostal Canal Association Inland Rivers Ports and Terminals US Coast Guard Houma

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