Letter to the Editor
This letter was printed in the Times-Picayune on December 17th, 2009.
Lock Design Outdated
Re: “New lock will benefit the neighborhood,” Your Opinions, Nov. 27.
Raymond Butler of the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association claimed that the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock lock project is critical for the inland barge industry. However, he fails to mention that the Army corps lock design is out of scale with the needs of the barge industry and decades out of date.
The corps’ lock design is a deep-draft relic of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet era when the port was courting container-shipping businesses for the Inner Harbor. The port scrapped this plan 25 years ago.
With the MR-GO closed and the IHNC’s deep-draft clients relocating, the current design makes no sense! It’s completely out of step with regional economic trends. Further, damage to the adjacent neighborhoods and ecosystems will be immense if this project moves forward.
Gov. Bobby Jindal should request an independent scientific review of the project. The corps should recommend the project for deauthorization in Congress.
The port needs to re-envision the IHNC as a shallow-draft waterway and recognize that deep shipping channels in the heart of the city are no longer viable.
Most importantly, local residents deserve a voice in shaping the future of this century-old waterway that has underperformed economically and has often brought storm surge and suffering.