Columbia-Snake River System
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to close the Columbia River to traffic for 14 weeks for repairs starting in December 2016.
A 14-week lock closure is planned for the Columbia-Snake River System, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The closure will take place from Dec. 12, 2016, through March 20, 2017, while contractors repair and upgrade four locks.
The Pacific Northwest Waterways Association is working with the Corps to ensure key river system users are updated throughout the planning process, according to an association press release.
The Columbia-Snake River System is the top wheat export gateway in the United States. Most of the wheat grown in the Northwest is exported using the Columbia and Snake rivers to barge the grain to export terminals to be loaded onto ocean-going ships.
According to the Corps, repairs and improvements currently planned during the closure include:
Energy Intensities of Freight: Barge, Truck and Railroad US Department of Energy, Transportation Energy Data Book
Economic & Environmental Impacts of Extended Lock Outage by Dr. Ken Casavant, Freight Policy Transportation Institute, 8/11
Industry Reactions to the Columbia-Snake River Extended Lock Outage by Dr. Ken Casavant, Freight Policy Transportation Institute, 6/11
Columbia Snake River System Extended Lock Closure by Pacific Northwest Waterways Association
From Survey conducted following the 2011 Extended Lock Outage (see Economic & Environmental Impacts of the Columbia-Snake River Extended Lock Outage by Dr. Ken Casavant Freight Policy Transportation Institute, August 2011).
Table 2.3 Typical Wheat Transportation Rates by Survey Respondents
Source: Elevator Firm Survey (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) - Washington State University
Prices in $/bushel.
Region Number of Firms Direct Truck to Final Market Truck-Barge Rail Eastern Oregon 5 $0.50 $0.29 $0.58 Northern Idaho 5 $1.50 $0.58 $0.73 Southern Idaho 3 $0.71 $0.86 $0.83 Northern Washington 5 $0.52 $0.57 $0.54 Southern Washington 8 $1.22 $0.47 $0.55 Pacific Northwest 26 $0.89 $0.55 $0.65 (bluefish adjusts for
volume differences by
region, Table 3.1)
$0.92 $0.51 $0.59
Excerpt from Economic & Environmental Impacts of the Columbia-Snake River Extended Lock Outage by Dr. Ken Casavant Freight Policy Transportation Institute, August 2011: However, energy consumed per ton decreased 4.8 percent due to the heavy use of rail, which is more energy efficient than barge or truck, and the increased use of barge prior to and after the lock outage.
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