MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

May 28, 2013

Port expansion good move

— Growth and the expected growth of the Port of Muskogee make expanding a barge fleeting area a wise move at this time.

A fleeting area is essentially a parking lot on water for barges.

Port officials want to expand their existing fleeting area because the port has shown growth during the last few years.

The port needs the expansion to accommodate the existing barge traffic.

It is also a wise move to expand it more than the existing traffic requires in hopes of drawing more barge traffic up and down the Arkansas River.

The Port of Catoosa and Port 33 near Inola also have planned expansion of their fleeting areas.

“We are all kind of doing the same thing. We have always had a need to fleet more barges, and our tonnage has increased,” Muskogee Port Authority Director Scott Robinson said. “We are looking to the future, in part because there is a present need and so we can accommodate future growth.”

All three need to expand. If increased traffic follows, then a floating traffic jam of sorts could be created.

There is also the possibility that more barge traffic could require more workers at the port.

It’s like building a wider freeway than is necessary now because traffic patterns indicate there will be a need for more lanes later.

There is little risk in expanding the fleeting area and a great deal of potential gain.

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