History and Future of Ohio River Navigation

by Carl H. Gaum, (F.ASCE), Asst. Chief.; Interagency and Special Studies Branch, Planning Div., Ofc., Chief of Engrs., Dept. of the Army, Washington, DC,

Serial Information: Journal of the Waterways, Harbors and Coastal Engineering Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 2, Pg. 483-495

Document Type: Journal Paper


The 981-mile long Ohio River Waterway has been continuously improved since it was first used to float cargo downstream. Introduction of steam vessels in the 1800s and development of highly efficient diesel tow boats have increased tow sizes and made modification of the earlier locks and dams mandatory. The old locks and dams being replaced and the new ones under construction are described. Continuing improvement in equipment and projected increase in traffic (estimated to be about 5 times the 1996 total of 25 billion ton-miles by 2020) will require continuous reappraisal and timely improvement to assure the maximization of economic returns from this already highly efficient system. The new locks and dams are efficiently designed and together with increased depth of the waterway should be able to accommodate the future traffic. However, additional effort will be required to reduce delays and speed traffic as growth continues.

Subject Headings: Locks (dam) | History | Navigation (waterway) | Rivers and streams | Traffic delay | Water transportation | Petroleum | Small craft | Ohio River

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