Economic Development officials in Arkansas and Oklahoma are endorsing a proposal to deepen the shipping channel in the Arkansas River by three feet.
Officials said this week that deepening the river from nine feet to 12 feet will enable barges to carry 40 percent more cargo.
The Southwest Times Record reports that some sections of the river are less than nine feet deep in parts of Oklahoma.
Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Paul Harvel says the project is a long-term one and that economic developers want to encourage the Army Corps of Engineers, members of Congress and local public officials to support it.
Also under discussion is a new slackwater harbor for Fort Smith. The corps is looking at four possible sites.