LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The largest towboat ever built in the United States, the Motor Vessel Mississippi, is a sight to see. This 241-foot-long workhorse for the Army Corps of Engineers will travel down the Arkansas River Aug. 12-14, and the Corps invites the public to view it as it moves downstream.
While it will travel the length of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, there are several riverfront areas where it can be better seen. The following are good locations to view the passing vessel, though the time schedules are subject to some variation.
9:30 a.m. at Fort Smith Riverfront Park in Fort Smith
10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Springhill Park near James W. Trimble Lock and Dam in Barling
2:15 p.m. – 3 p.m. at Aux Arc Park and Reed Mountain Overlook near Ozark-Jeta Taylor Lock and Dam in Ozark
6 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. at Old Post Park near Dardanelle Lock and Dam in Dardanelle
9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. at Cherokee Park near Arthur V. Ormond in Morrilton
Noon – 12:30 p.m. at Cadron Settlement Park in Conway
1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Toad Suck Park near Toad Suck Lock and Dam in Conway
5:45 p.m. -6:15 p.m. at the Big Dam Bridge at Murray Lock and Dam in Little Rock
6 a.m. - 6:30 a.m. in Riverfront Park in North Little Rock
The vessel will be on the Arkansas River transporting members of the Mississippi River Commission on their second-ever inspection of the McClellan-Kerr waterway. The first inspection occurred in 2010.
The Mississippi River Commission was established by Congress in 1879. Today the MRC provides water resources engineering direction and policy advice to the Administration, Congress, and the Army.
The inspection focuses high-level attention on Arkansas River navigation and its benefits. The Arkansas River and other navigable tributaries feed important commerce through the Mississippi River system and America’s sea ports.
The MV Mississippi is the flagship of the Corps. It is the largest diesel towboat in the U.S. and is 58 feet wide with 6,300 horsepower. It is 52 feet from the water line to the pilot house.
Today's MV Mississippi spends more than 90 percent of its time as a working towboat for the Corps. It is stationed at the Memphis District and moves barges, equipment, and supplies on the Mississippi River. It also serves as an inspection and workboat for the Mississippi River Commission during its two inspection trips each year (high-water, normally in April, and the low-water, normally in August).
During times of national crisis that occur with natural disasters and other threats, the MV Mississippi is a valuable asset available to serve as a command center stationed along the Nation’s waterways.