Arkansas River System Facing $225M Backlog In Upkeep

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe says an Arkansas River system that runs from Tulsa to the Mississippi River is facing a $225 million backlog of “critical” upkeep projects after being hindered for months this summer by historic flooding in Oklahoma.

I-540 bridge over the Arkansas River.

The Tulsa World reports the Environmental and Public Works Committee’s senior member submitted a statement Wednesday for a committee hearing to discuss the next Water Resources and Development Act legislation.

The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is 445 miles (716 kilometers) long.

Inhofe says the system supports financial activity across a 12-state region, moving 10.9 million tons (9.89 million metric tons) of commerce worth $3.5 billion yearly. But he noted Tulsa’s port has been closed to barge traffic since May.

Inhofe says silt needs to be removed from the channel and re-dredging likely won’t be finished until November.

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