At the convergence of three states, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi is the beginning of the Tenn-Tom waterway, constructed by the US Army Corps of engineers. Originally proposed by a French explorer in 1792, the project, to connect the Tennessee River to the Tombigbee River was finally authorized by congress in 1946.
After a big harangue over whether the project was worth the cost and how much the project would stomp on mother nature, the waterway opened in 1985. The total cost was two billion dollars.
Miscellaneous fact: more dirt was moved to build the Tenn-Tom than was moved to build the Panama Canal. The waterway runs from the Pickwick Dam in Tennessee to Demopolis, Alabama. It is 234 miles long, 300 feet wide, has a minimum depth of nine feet and includes a series of ten locks.
Trees are usually removed before flooding lakes but weren’t entirely on this waterway. Drowned trees are rising out of the deep and causing a hazard to navigation. Baffles are used all along the sides of the waterway to control the flow of water and prevent erosion from the tributaries.
We are traveling through four of the ten locks today like an oiled machine, quickly and efficiently. Now we can cruise between the Gulf Coast and the Midwest and not have to face the wrath of the Mississippi River, which is amazing considering I didn’t even know this waterway existed two years ago.
The compass is pointing due south, the sun is out and the afternoon temperature is in the sixties. This man made incredible waterway is taking me home.
Things are looking up.