$2-Billion Waterway Opened

United Press International

Ceremonies at opposite ends of the Tombigbee River on Saturday officially opened the $2-billion, 234-mile Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, ending more than a century of planning and 14 years of construction.

Secretary of the Army John O. Marsh Jr. and Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace presided over the twin ceremonies for the waterway linking mid-America to the Gulf of Mexico.

Marsh and Rep. Tom Bevill (D-Ala.) turned a wheel and symbolically merged the waters of 23 states that will be served by the waterway linking mid-America to the Gulf of Mexico.

President Reagan, in a message read by Marsh, congratulated the people of Mississippi and Alabama and other supporters of the Tenn-Tom Waterway for their “foresight, perseverance and patience.”


Wallace presided at the second dedication ceremony, at the Alabama State Docks in Mobile, near the site where former President Richard M. Nixon turned the first shovel to start project construction on May 25, 1971.

The waterway links the Tennessee River at Pickwick Dock and Dam on the Mississippi-Tennessee border with the Warrior-Tombigbee River.