Corps decision on river locks has Columbus worried

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Officials are urging the federal government to reconsider a decision to quit staffing navigational locks built on the Chattahoochee River south of Columbus, Ga., and Phenix City, Ala.

The government spent more than $100 million on the locks to allow for commercial barge traffic, but relatively few vessels use them.

Now, the Army Corps of Engineers plans to operate the locks on an appointment-only basis to save money. And they would be closed to recreational boaters like anglers who fish the river.

Georgia Rep. Sanford Bishop is asking the agency to reconsider. He says commercial traffic on the river already struggles.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer has reported that officials in Columbus fear the decision will leave the city effectively cut off from the Gulf.