Arkansas Waterways Commission

Our Rivers. Our Responsibility.


Red River

J. Bennett Johnson Waterway

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District, is conducting a study that will investigate the feasibility for navigation from Shreveport-Bossier City to Index, Arkansas (US Hwy 71/59 Bridge). The Index Reach, 142 RMs, is located about nine land miles north of downtown Texarkana, Arkansas/Texas. The current Administration, in Washington D.C., has not provided funding for this study in three years and the ‘no earmark’ policy has prevented congressional adds. The State of Arkansas has appropriated $1 million to the local sponsor, Arkansas Red River Commission (ARRC). The Commission has provided funding to the Corps of Engineers to continue with the feasibility study. This study will determine if the benefits justify a project and will be completed by the end of CY 2017.

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Red River Navigation Preliminary Study Underway

Preliminary Study Identifies Potential Benefits Greater than Cost to Extending Navigation on the Red River into Southwest Arkansas! 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District recently facilitated a navigation study, which was fully funded by the State of Arkansas through the Arkansas Red River Commission, to investigate the potential benefits of extending navigation on the Red River from Shreveport-Bossier City into southwest Arkansas. The purpose of the navigation study was to better inform USACE as to whether pursuing a more in-depth feasibility study for the extension would be in the federal government's best interest. A feasibility study would provide enough information to determine whether or not the project should ultimately be advanced for construction. A 2005 feasibility study on the extension of navigation on the Red River identified a benefit-to-cost ratio that was unfavorable to pursuing construction. Through a contract with USACE, Gulf Engineers & Consultants (GEC) conducted the navigation study by analyzing the extent of bulk commodity shipments by way of railroad freight traffic in the Red River valley and the potential for these shipments to be diverted to barge traffic through the extension of navigation on the Red River beyond Shreveport, Louisiana. In addition to collecting railroad freight data from the Department of Transportation, GEC's analysis incorporated research from local industry groups and chambers of commerce. The study found that approximately 10 businesses and 25 unique shipment traffic flows would possibly benefit from the extension of navigation on the Red River. GEC found that farming and nonmetallic minerals industries would also benefit from the extension. The study considered the costs associated with constructing, operating and maintaining three locks & dams; one in Louisiana and two in Arkansas. There would be benefits associated with potential terminals at Garland and Fulton, Arkansas. GEC found that the extension of navigation on the waterway could potentially save approximately $75 million annually in shipping costs. 

The study indicated that the benefit-to-cost ratio for the construction of the locks and the extension of the waterway was favorable, above unity. Based on these findings, USACE intends to request the resumption of a feasibility study. Dan York, ARRC, Chair, signed a letter of intent to be the local sponsor on Wednesday, February 20, 2019. For more information contact Dan York, (870) 542-6196, or Richard Brontoli, ARRC Administrator, (318) 393-6207,

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