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GMA Dave Trips: The Intracoastal Waterway

One of the Busiest Inland Shipping Corridors
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Posted at 5:00 AM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 06:01:03-05

We're all familiar with the interstate system and the amount of trucks moving everything we need from place to place. Most of you have been stopped by a train or two. As they go by, you also see consumer products, fuel, and farm goods moving. But there's another mode of transportation that's incredibly important to our state, our waterways, and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is one of those.

This corridor runs from Florida through Texas, but cuts across the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. It connects some of the busiest ports like New Orleans. Waterways that have access to the Intracoastal Canal, also connect Port Fourchon and Baton Rouge, making it one of the busiest corridors in the United States when you include the Mississippi River.

Along the Intracoastal Waterway through Louisiana, are a series of locks, including the Leland Bowman Lock near Intracoastal City. Those locks connect the Intracoastal to the ports of West St. Mary, Iberia, and Vermilion. Then westward toward Texas putting Lake Charles and Cameron within reach.

The amount that goes up and down the Intracoastal Waterway is astonishing! In Louisiana, millions of tons will move through. Most of it includes petroleum products, natural gas, and chemicals. Just one barge in fuel miles can replace 15 railroad cars, or 60 trucks on the interstate.

It's also a job creator. Companies that utilize the Intracoastal employ thousands, and even more indirect jobs come to local economies statewide. There are areas where you can see the locks, but most of us have viewed the Intracoastal from the safety of a bridges, from Forked Island, to near Cypremort Point, and down the less traveled road to Burns Point.