Columbia-Snake Corridor / Highway 12
The West Coast Alternative
The Columbia-Snake River System is part of our nation’s “Marine Highway” designated as The Inland Marine Transportation System, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Together the inland and coastal waterways handle one-sixth of the nation’s industrial materials, commodities and products. The Port of Lewiston, strategically located, is at the furthest end of the Columbia-Snake River system, 465 river miles inland, and offers an equitable, alternative route for destinations into Canada and the U.S. Midwest.
There are eight dams and navigation locks on the Columbia-Snake River System; four on the Columbia River and four on the Snake River. These navigation locks permit vessels to pass from one water level to another as they proceed up or downstream between Portland/Vancouver and Lewiston, Idaho. The vertical lift of the rivers between these two points is 730 feet. The standard size lock in the system in 86 feet wide and 675 feet long. The river channel is a minimum of 14 feet deep. Loaded barges average 10 feet of draft, while tugs draft between 11 and 12 feet.
Utilizing this route as a viable alternative has only been recently ‘discovered’ by logistics companies representing companies who have oversize equipment destined for the interiors of Canada and the U.S. Midwest. The carbon footprint, transportation, permitting and strategic planning costs of utilizing this route is significantly less than shipping through alternate marine routes importing into the United States with the same destination.