Help has arrived for the Tenn-Tom Waterway in Aberdeen
ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI) – Flood waters left a mess on the river in Aberdeen.
A huge sandbar prevented boats and barges from going up and down the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway.
Now, over a month later help has arrived.
This huge machine provided a huge sense of relief along the Tenn-Tom Waterway in Aberdeen.
“Well it’s what they call a cutter head that’s on the dredge, and it’s basically like a big rotating head that churns up the sediment and then literally vacuum it out of the bottom of the channel,” said Tenn-Tom Waterway Authority Administrator Mitch Mays.
Flood waters left behind a sandbar that ran about a mile and a half below the Aberdeen lock.
Workers used pipes to move the sand to the banks of the river.
“It will stay there permanently we have disposal areas all along the waterway from one end to the other, and they are designated areas to hold that material,” said Tenn-Tom Operation Project Manager Justin Murphree.
The dredge worked around the clock to clean up the waterway and slowly made its way towards the Aberdeen Lock.
“We maintain a 9-foot deep navigational channel some of those areas that you don’t see a sandbar, but it may be only two or three feet deep there.”
There are an estimated 400,000 cubic yards of sediment blocking the channel in that one spot. The dredge removed around 500 cubic yards per hour.
Waterway leaders said the industry affected by the river closing will soon be able to use the Tenn Tom again.
“Once this emergency channel is cleared the Tenn Tom waterway will be fully operational however there will still be some limitations in several areas because of narrowing of the channel but shipping and traffic will be able to resume,” said Mays.
Mays told WCBI the goal is to have the emergency channel open around May 1. After that, it will take a couple months before the waterway operates like normal.