Page 38: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Jul/Aug 2018)
Port Infrastructure & Development
In 1921, Thomas Edison told Forbes magazine, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
He could have been talking about Ol- msted. That’s because, after more than 30 years of frustratingly slow progress, cost overruns and more than a few mistakes, Olmsted is ? nally poised for success. That’s something to celebrate.
By Tom Ewing
The U.S. Army Corp
It is of? cial: of Engineers (USACE) wants Olmsted opera- tional by October. And, not a moment too soon. After more than 30 years, the ribbon cutting to of? cially open the Olm- sted Locks and Dam will take place on August 29. The very old (1929) upstream locks and dams – Nos. 52 and 53, which
Olmsted is replacing – will be dismantled by December 2020.
Before that happens, Olmsted’s performance will be tested and con? rmed. On the Ohio River at Olmsted, IL, about 10 miles north of Cairo, IL, where the mighty Ohio ? ows into the mighty Mississippi, this crucial piece of American infrastruc- ture is ? nally almost in place. Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland rivers must pass through
Just about everyone involved with Olmsted, with stakeholders this stretch of the Ohio. The tonnage passing through this sec- spanning four decades across the breadth of the USACE to mem- tion, over 90 million tons annually, exceeds every other sec- bers of Congress and commercial maritime operators, all likely tion of America’s inland navigation system. Olmsted isn’t just welcome this news with the same response: It’s about time. about critical transportation – its operations are integral to the entire Midwest economy.
The Agony of Olmsted
Most people whose business is aligned with waterways is-
To say that the 2,596-foot Olmsted dam is situated on a vital sues are only too familiar with Olmsted’s endless challenges. section of the Nation’s inland waterways would not give full To summarize (based on a 2017 GAO “Report to Congres- weight to the importance of this critical infrastructure. Barge sional Committees”), Olmsted was ? rst authorized within traf? c moving between the Mississippi River system and the the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1988 at 38 Maritime Logistics Professional July/August 2018 | | 32-49 MLP JulyAug18.indd 38 32-49 MLP JulyAug18.indd 38 8/7/2018 3:50:45 PM8/7/2018 3:50:45 PM