President #Donald Trump had recently been to Ohio in connection with the “#infrastructure Week” where he disclosed his agenda. His talks covered issues related to deterioration in the condition of the #Waterways, especially to its crumbling locks and dams. He also mentioned the importance of river communication which, in his opinion, plays a crucial role in the export of agricultural products and is a vital part of his plans to revitalize infrastructure.

Waterways get preference over highway

Fox News reports that according to the White House, there is a need to improve the infrastructure which is outdated. The internal waterways are vital for transporting the country’s goods and attention must focus on this aspect.

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It may be recalled that a malfunction of the mechanical system on Lock 25 in Winfield, Missouri, disturbed river traffic for a stretch of nearly one hundred miles.

Apart from such incidents, there are several other issues that hamper the smooth functioning of the waterways. The gravity of the situation can be realized from the volume of cargo that passes through Lock 25 every year. In a rough estimate, it is of the order of nearly 22 million tons that travel up and down the Mississippi.

This is one of the reasons why President Donald Trump feels that an investment of upwards of $4-billion would pay rich dividends and is necessary not only in Lock 25 but in six other locks on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Simultaneous upgrade of locks in Ohio and Kentucky will also be planned. The Army Corps of Engineers have found that the majority of the locks are nearing the end of their design life and Lock 25, which is of 1930s vintage, has never been updated.

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Need for the upgrade

Locks are supposed to make river navigation easy. The majority of the locks and dams were built in the early 1900s and rivers like the Mississippi did not have adequate depth to accommodate big barges. Most of the products that are transported on this river are coal and petroleum and older locks like 25 are unable to accommodate the big barges of today because of their size - most of them are approximately 1200-feet long while many are bigger than Lock 25 can handle.

One of the major arguments in favor of river transport cost compared to transportation by road or rail. Moreover, river transport has the advantage of spare capacity. Therefore, waterways will get priority as they can help to reduce congestion on the highway. The work will be undertaken as a part of revamp of the infrastructure to fulfil the visions of President Donald Trump.