The U.S. Department of Transportation recently designated certain waterway corridors across America that will soon serve as highways of their own. The idea is to move more cargo from our highways and onto our waterway system, loading and unloading goods just like tractor trailers do. Click to see where these waterway corridors are located. http://www.marad.dot.gov/ships_shipping_landing_page/mhi_home/mhi_home.htm
If you looked at the waterway corridor map, you'll see two corridors are in Missouri. A good portion of one of the marine corridors includes the Missouri River from Kansas City to St. Louis. It is called the M-70 because it will potentially reduce freight truck congestion on Interstate 70. The new M-55 marine corridor includes the Mississippi River, which incorporates St. Louis, and is expected to reduce freight truck congestion along Interstate 55.
These marine highway corridor designations by the USDOT helps a push by MoDOT to increase waterway traffic in order to utilize all forms of transportation to their fullest. MoDOT's freight development unit has been working for close to a year to identify and prioritize strategies to increase freight traffic on Missouri waterways. http://www.modot.org/othertransportation/freight/index.htm
Increasing the usage of waterway shipping will decrease road congestion, harmful emissions, fossil fuel usage and highway maintenance costs. Think about this: one waterway barge holds the same amount of cargo that 15 rail cars and 70 tractor trailers can carry. A common waterway tow down the Missouri River has 15 barges... meaning more than 1000 tractor trailers would get removed from our roads with one simple waterway tow. Less congestion, less air pollution and possibly a less expensive product for the consumer to buy due to cheaper shipping costs. I'm on board with all of that.