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Waterways of Louisiana


Mississippi Queen Louisiana
Mississippi Queen Louisiana

The rivers of Louisiana were the chief transportation routes of the early settlers. Early in the 19th century, New Orleans became the main receiving port for farm products shipped down the Mississippi from the Ohio and upper Mississippi valleys. Railroads were developed later in the 19th century. During the first half of the 20th century, highways and air routes were extended throughout much of the state. New Orleans remains the principal transportation center in the state.

The highways and roads


The highways and roads that cross Louisiana total 98,183 km (61,008 mi), including 1,456 km (905 mi) of the federal interstate highway system. The principal east-to-west freeway routes are Interstates 10 and 12, along the southern edge of the state, and Interstate 20, connecting the northern cities. Providing north-south transportation are Interstate 55, out of New Orleans, and Interstate 49, connecting Lafayette and Shreveport.

There were 4,781 km (2,971 mi) of railroad tracks in Louisiana in 2004. Railroads provide freight service to and from many urban centers. New Orleans, Shreveport, and Alexandria are among the chief freight centers, and New Orleans is also the major railroad passenger terminus.

Louisiana had 9 airports in 2009, most of which are small private fields. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is the state’s principal airport.

The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, which extends for 108 km (67 mi) from New Orleans to the Gulf, enables oceangoing ships to bypass the lowermost reaches of the Mississippi River delta. Above New Orleans a channel 13.7 m (45 ft) deep is maintained in the Mississippi River as far upstream as Baton Rouge. From Baton Rouge to the Louisiana-Arkansas state line there is a navigation channel 2.7 m (9 ft) deep. Barges and other rivercraft also utilize the Red and Ouachita rivers in Louisiana.

The gulf section of the Intracoastal Waterway, which passes through New Orleans, extends the width of the state, from the mouth of the East Pearl River in the east to the Sabine River in the west. Almost the entire length of the waterway in Louisiana lies inland, rather than just offshore, as in most other Gulf States.

Ports


Louisiana has three major deepwater ports. The Port of South Louisiana, in New Orleans, was the nation’s leading port in weight of cargo handled annually in the mid-1990s. Baton Rouge is a major inland port on the Mississippi. Lake Charles is connected with the Gulf of Mexico by a deepwater ship channel. In 1981 the nation’s first “superport” for oil tankers was completed 31 km (19 mi) off the coast of Louisiana. It is capable of berthing tankers too large to dock in any other U.S. port. "Louisiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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