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If Old River Control Structure Fails: Catastrophe With Global Impact

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 04:53 PM


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Considering all our rain..........



If the Old River Control Structure (ORCS) were to fail, barge navigation might be interrupted for weeks and possibly months. Barge traffic on the new mainstem of the river--down the Atchafalaya’s channel—would be limited or impossible during the initial months of the channel change, due to turbulent and dangerously unstable conditions. At the split in the river’s channel at the ORCS, the river would dump a massive amount of sediment, potentially blocking navigation downriver on the old Mississippi channel towards Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Navigation might still be possible for a few months after the event with extensive dredging efforts, but the blockage might become so great mere dredging may not keep a clear channel for barge traffic, requiring that a new navigation lock be constructed—a multi-year project costing $100+ million. Closure of the Mississippi to shipping would cost the economy $295 million per day, said Gary LaGrange, executive director of the Port of New Orleans, during the great flood of 2011. Closure for multiple months would cause a cascade of impacts across a broad sector of the U.S. economy, multiplying costs.
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2018 Rainfall - 62.65"
High Temp. - 110.03*
Low Temp. - 8.4*