At a meeting Monday in Alexandria, James Ross of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the Corps has been ordered to reduce lock service under a 2007-2008 study based on a survey of commercial and recreational usage of the five Red River locks.
The mandate becomes effective in February 2014, when hours will be cut back for three locks. The move is designed to cut costs.
Rich Brontoli, executive director of the Red River Valley Association, said he was concerned that no economic impact studies had been done. Brontoli said there is no proof the reduced service will save money.
The Red River Valley Association is a nonprofit, member-supported organization founded in 1925. Its purpose is to advance the economic development and well-being of the millions of citizens who reside in the area traversed by the Red River in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
Brontoli and Gabe Gattle with Terral River Service, which moves barges up and down the Red River and has a fertilizer warehouse in Alexandria, both said the change in the hours of operation in Locks 3, 4 and 5 will discourage traffic and ultimately affect Locks 1 and 2.
Ross said there would also be an annual assessment of the lock service and adjustments could be made according to those assessments.