LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold six public hearings in Ohio River communities to hear public comments on its recently released Ohio River Mainstem System Study (ORMSS).
Currently, 25 percent of Ohio River locks have exceeded their 50-year design life; by 2016, half will exceed their design life. The study took a holistic approach combining engineering, environmental and economic research. Study recommendations for the 981-mile river span include initiating prioritized main chamber rehabilitation studies on some of the Ohio River locks during the years 2010-2070 and an optimized funding stream for the on-going study of aging locks on the upper Ohio - Emsworth, Dashields and Montgomery, Pennsylvania - which were built in the 1920s and 1930s.
The study’s environmental research included measures to improve long-term environmental sustainability while maintaining and improving the navigation system. The report includes recommendations to meet high priority needs to enhance the environment such as protection and restoration of habitats and reintroduction of native species.
“Under our study forecast scenarios, we’ve found that when components are repaired or replaced in advance of expected failure, substantial cost savings will be realized,” said Veronica Rife, study manager, who will present the study findings at each public meeting site, prior to public hearings.
The schedule for ORMSS study public hearings is as follows:
• June 19, 2006, Monaca, Pa. - Open Forum 6-7 p.m., Public Meeting 7-9 p.m., Community College of Beaver County, Allied Health Building Auditorium, One Campus Drive.
• June 20, 2006, Marietta, Ohio - Open Forum 6-7 p.m., Public Meeting 7-9 p.m., Holiday Inn, 701 Pike Street.
• June 21, 2006, Huntington, W. Va. - Open Forum 6-7 p.m., Public Meeting 7-9 p.m., Big Sandy Superstore Arena, 3rd Ave and 8th Street.
• June 27, 2006, Metropolis, Ill. - Open Forum 6-7 p.m., Public Meeting 7-9 p.m., Banterra Bank – Large Conference Room, 101 West Eighth Street.
• June 28, 2006, Evansville, Ind. - Open Forum 6-7 p.m., Public Meeting 7-9 p.m., Victory Theater, 5th Floor Banquet Room, 600 Main Street.
• June 29, 2006, Covington, Ky. - Open Forum 6-6:30 p.m., Public Meeting 6:30-8:30 p.m., Kenton County Public Library - Large Meeting Room, 505 Scott Blvd.
The Ohio River is a national transportation artery and a vital natural resource where more than 270 million tons of commerce, worth more than $30 billion, travels the inland waterway system. The 57 coal-fired plants on the Ohio and its tributaries provide more than 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. Inland waterways transportation of coal saves ratepayers money on their utility bills, according to the study, therefore behooving the nation to reinvest in the river’s locks for continued savings.