Chattahoochee River locks may be shut down indefinitely - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Chattahoochee River locks may shut down indefinitely

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The decades-old system of locks along the Chattahoochee River south of Columbus may stop operating soon. Locks are like water elevators, raising and lowering the ships as they travel along the river.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said, "The Army Corps of Engineers has recommended the locks be closed to save money. I do not believe that is a permanent solution.  I think with the whitewater, we're going to see a tremendous economic impact on recreational use of the river. The state will see that."

The discontinuation revolves around the fact that not enough commercial shipping has passed through the locks to justify the nearly $1 million it costs to maintain them annually. A big factor keeping water traffic down is the fact that large ships can't make it through Florida.

"Florida is not dredging their part... so it's making it impossible to pass," said Mayor Tomlinson.

A concern for Florida is the impact dredging has on the environment, sometimes disrupting natural ecosystems. 

What's good for the swamps and oysters in Florida is bad for the future of water traffic in Columbus.  Until the future of the Chattahoochee is more certain, plans for a recreational marina in Columbus may have to wait.

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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