On Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards along with Louisiana Department of Transportation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announce an agreement to deepen the Mississippi river from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico.
A statement from governor Edwards says the project will deepen the lower portion of the Mississippi River from 45 feet to 50 feet. This will provide the depth needed for larger vessels to access ports at Plaquemines, New Orleans, South Louisiana and Baton Rouge.
“This is a great day for the people of Louisiana who depend on the Mississippi River for their livelihood,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “When completed, this project will allow larger vessels that can currently use the widened Panama Canal to reach Louisiana ports as far north as Baton Rouge. It will also allow for some vessels to carry heavier loads. Nationwide, industries that depend on this Mississippi River to move goods will benefit greatly from this dredging project.”
The U.S. Army Corps says once completed, the project will be an huge economic engine for the state and local ports like New Orleans.
"The Mississippi River has always been a critical economic engine for the United States and connects our Nation’s heartland to the global economy,” said Major General Diana Holland, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Mississippi Valley Division Commander. "More capacity means greater efficiency in transportation and less costs for our Nation’s producers. From a benefit cost perspective, that equates to a benefit $7.20 for every dollar spent on operation and maintenance, a significant return on investment."
Funding for the estimated $250 million project has been allocated through a variety of sources, including $81 million committed form the Louisiana DOTD.