Friday, May 7, 2010

Big load coming

Back in 1985, the Corps of Engineers or the Coast Guard issued an advisory to navigators to be careful with oversized barge tows. It seems several boats in the Huntington area were pushing so many barges that other companies were complaining. I did a story, and the copy desk used the headline I suggested: Ohio River barge tows getting too big for its bridges.

This evening, Adam and I saw the first oversized tow in the Huntington area that I had seen for a long time. The mv. Jackson H. Randolph was coming down the river pushing 25 coal barges. By the way, they were loaded to a draft of 10 feet. I always thought the normal depth for a loaded coal barge was nine feet, as that is the official channel depth of the Ohio River. Lately I've noticed a lot of barges loaded to 10 feet. It's probably been going one for a while, but I hadn't noticed  until January.

Anyway, as seen from the Robert C. Byrd Bridge, this is the Jackson H. Randolph heading into the evening sun.

Here it is going under the bridge. I like this shot. This is such a handsome boat. The folks who ran the Ohio River Co. knew how to pick boat designs for maximum aesthetic effect, and the Ingram Barge folks know how to pick colors.

And here it is heading into the setting sun.

As the Jackson H. Randolph was going under the bridge downbound, the Stephen T was emerging from under the bridge upbound.

And that's about all I have to say about that. For now.


I have been asked to write a short piece about navigation needs on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers. This is to go with a longer piece that someone else is writing about lock problems on the Monongahela River.

So, if there are any towboat pilots, towboat owners, shippers  or recreational boaters out there with strong opinions about what the priorities should be for improving the locks and dams on the Ohio and/or Kanawha rivers, feel free to drop me a line. I know that a lot of money has been spent in the past 25 years upgrading locks on the Kanawha. And I know that Greenup and Markland have had equipment failures, and that thee is some worry about the Montgomery dam. There is talk -- not much more -- at this point about extending the auxiliary locks at Greenup and JT Myers. And one of these days, the Olmstead Locks and Dam will be finished. Anything else out there?