Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In the news

I take one day easy and Ohio River news just happens all over the place. Here's a quick roundup:


The Sherman Minton Bridge at Louisville is scheduled to reopen March 2, and the contractor can earn a $100,000-a-day bonus if it finishes the job early.


This should be nice. Mount Vernon, Ind., will build an amphitheater and other attractions along its riverfront. In my part of the river, cities that don't have amphitheaters at their riverfront parks tend to want them. The first one in this area was in Huntington, and it's been a gathering place for nearly 30 years.


This guy -- he tried to escape from police by jumping into the Ohio River -- is lucky he's still alive. A few years ago, a few weeks apart if that long, guys in two different cities tried to evade police by going into the river, and both times someone drowned.


A couple of old, small power plants are coming down in Jeffersonville, Ind., as construction continues on a business and industrial park along the Ohio River. It will be known as River Ridge Commerce Center.

Hmm. River Ridge? Sounds as oxymoronic as the Dodge Ram. But I'm not familiar with the area, so I trust the name has a logic to it.


Coal loses one and natural gas wins one.

Baard Energy will use natural gas instead of coal at its refinery in Columbiana County, Ohio. The move probably makes sense in a number of ways. Coal is out and gas is in. In Ohio, coal is dirty, and thanks to  horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Utica shale, gas is abundant.


Technically, this is not an Ohio River news item, but it has a peripheral relationship to the river. What coal has been to southern West Virginia, shale gas is becoming to northern West Virginia. An example is this article about construction of new pipeline for natural gas in that area.

If you have a road map of West Virginia, look at the area north of U.S. 50. That's shale gas country. Then look at the area south of U.S. 60. That's coal country.

Big Sandy coal

The lower nine miles of the Big Sandy River -- which forms part of the border between West Virginia and Kentucky -- are navigable. In the upper part of those nine miles are several coal docks. Both sides of the river have places where trucks or rail cars can transfer their coal to barges, and in some places coal can be loaded onto rail.

I was in that part of West Virginia tonight while working on a story for this week's State Journal about the Prichard rail-truck transfer facility.  By the time I got close to Kenova, darkness was falling, and I saw this dock. Me being me, my tripod was at home, and the guardrail wasn't a good place to set my camera, so I had to shoot this by hand.

Maybe I'll go back some night with the tripod. If I remember.

Oh, the Big Sandy is so narrow that the docks can moor only one barge wide. A lot of the pictures I've put on here at Kenova, W.Va., or Catlettsburg, Ky., have to do with traffic that has gone in or out of the Big Sandy.