Watch: Army Corps discusses deepening the Mississippi River

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NEW ORLEANS – Officials with the Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Louisiana are discussing a project to deepen the channel of the Mississippi River.

The project, which Corps officials say has been decades in the making, will deepen the Mississippi River channel between the Gulf of Mexico and Baton Rouge from the current 45 feet to 50 feet.

“The Mississippi River has always been a critical economic engine for the United States and connects our Nation’s heartland to the global economy,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Mississippi Valley Division Commander Major General Diana Holland said. “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.”

That will allow deeper draft cargo ships to utilize the river, increasing shipping capacity throughout the nation, Governor John Bel Edwards said.

“This is a great day for the people of Louisiana who depend on the Mississippi River for their livelihood,” Edwards said. “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 project should be completed by 2024.

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