US Army Corps of Engineers
Little Rock District

Points of Contact

Navigation & Maintenance
(501) 324-5739

Reservoir Control
(501) 324-6237 

Pine Bluff Project Office
(870) 534-0451

Russellville Project Office
(479) 968-5008

Montgomery Pt L&D 
(870) 548-3400

Norrell Lock
(870) 548-2796

Lock No. 2
(870) 548-2791

Joe Hardin Lock
(870) 479-3164

Emmett Sanders Lock
(870) 534-2127

Col Charles D. Maynard Lock
(501) 842-2761

David D. Terry Lock
(501) 961-9281

Murray Lock
(501) 663-1997

Toad Suck Ferry Lock
(501) 327-0853

Arthur V. Ormond Lock
(501) 354-8402

Dardanelle Lock
(479) 890-4987

Ozark-Jeta Taylor Lock
(479) 667-2120

James W. Trimble Lock
(479) 452-0488

In 1820, the COMET became the first steamboat to navigate the Arkansas River. It reached Arkansas Post, about 40 miles above the confluence of the Arkansas and the Mississippi rivers, on March 31.

Those who rejoiced at the arrival of the COMET also understood that the steamboat couldn't have gone much farther up the Arkansas and might never have made it even to Arkansas Post had the trip been attempted in another month.

In the early days, the uncontrolled river's stages fluctuated wildly from almost no flow to above flood stage. The arrival of the COMET captured the imagination of people who understood that the potential of the rich Arkansas Valley was linked to the existence of a reliable, year-round 'waterway' that reached deep into Oklahoma. 

In 1970, a century and a half later, this dream was realized with the opening of a 445-mile-long-waterway with 17 locks and dams. Construction by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers spanned more than a quarter of a century at a cost of $1.3 billion. In July 2004, an 18th lock and dam was opened on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. It is at NM 0.5 on the White River Entrance Channel.  Because of the enormous size and complexity of the project, the waterway would never have been constructed without the dedicated efforts of many Arkansas and Oklahoma people in both public and private life. 

In 1971, the United States Congress, which 25 years before had authorized the funds for the project, officially named it the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) in honor of two of the waterway's most persistent and persuasive supporters, the late U. S. Senators John L. McClellan of Arkansas and Robert S. Kerr of Oklahoma.
 
The MKARNS averages 12 million tons of commodities shipments annually. Based on prices obtained from Institute for Water Resources and the National Agricultural Statistics Service/USDA, the value of these commodities averages from $2 to $3 billion per year.

 

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