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The Tenn-Tom Waterway is a marvel of modern engineering. When it was opened for commercial traffic in January of 1985, it was the completion of a dream that had begun more than 100 years before.

The Tenn-Tom Waterway forms a 234 mile long, 300 feet wide by 9 feet deep transportation artery connecting west-central Alabama and northeastern Mississippi. Made up of a series of ten locks, each measuring 110 feet by 600 feet, it provides a lift of 341 feet. It connects this part of the nation with the existing 16,000 mile inland waterway system and shortens shipping distances for many inland ports by over 800 miles.

Since the completion of the waterway, commercial tonnage has increased continuously. An average 8 barge tow can move as much freight as 120 rail cars or 480 tractor trailer trucks. A barge can move a ton of freight twice as far as a train and 6 times as far as a tractor trailer truck on the same amount of fuel. The most popular commodities shipped by barge are forest products(timber and wood chips), petroleum by-products, crushed rock and grains.

The locking through of waterway traffic is handled through the operation of a control panel in the lock master's building. To fill the 110 x 600 foot chamber, the gates at both ends must be closed and aligned. The chamber fills by force of gravity and takes about 10 minutes to fill. It takes about 14 million gallons of water to fill the chamber.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the topics on this page please call for more information at 662-327-2142.

Or write:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
3606 West Plymouth Road
Columbus, Mississippi 39701-9504

Lock Information

Howell Heflin Lock 266.0 109.0 101.0
Tom Bevill Lock 306.8 136.0 122.0
John C. Stennis Lock 334.7 163.0 161.0
Aberdeen Lock 357.5 190.0 188.0
Amory Lock 371.1 220.0 ---
Glover Wilkins Lock 376.3 245.0 ---
Fulton Lock 391.0 270.0 ---
John Rankin Lock 398.4 300.0 ---
G.V. Montgomery Lock 406.7 330.0 ---
Jamie Whitten Lock 411.9 S-414.0; W-408.0 ---

* Navigation Miles from Bankhead Tunnel (U.S. Highway 90), Mobile, Alabama
** Elevations refer to National Geodetic Vertical Datum
*** Tailwater Elevation at the Lock

Corps Locks Website:

Corps Locks, a new publicly accessible web site is now available. The website contains lock and vessel specific information derived from the United States Army Corps of Engineers Lock Performance Monitoring System (LPMS). The information contained there represents a half-hourly updated snapshot of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) data on U.S. flag vessels and foreign vessels operating in U.S. waterways that transited a Corps-owned or operated lock structure. Detailed information on specific companies or commodities is considered privileged and is not included in the Corps Locks website.

Visit Corps Locks

Marine Radio Channels Used By Locks:

  • Standby Channel:

    All Locks - Channel 16

  • Working Channel:

    * Wilkins Lock - Channel 10

    * Aberdeen & Montgomery Locks - Channel 12

    * Heflin, Bevill, Stennis, Amory, & Rankin Locks - Channel 14

    * Whitten Lock - Channel 18

    * Fulton Lock - Channel 74

Lockage Schedule:

  • Waterway locks are operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Lockages are made on demand, subject to the priorities listed below, except on weekends and federal holidays, at all locks except Howell Heflin Lock.
  • Lockage schedule for pleasure craft on affected days are as follows:
    Heflin Lock - On Request
    Bevill, Stennis, Aberdeen, Wilkins, Rankin and Whitten Locks -
    6, 8, 10 A.M., Noon, 2, 4, 6, & 8 P.M.
    Amory, Fulton, and Montgomery Locks -
    5, 7, 9, 11 A.M., 1, 3, 5, & 7 P.M.

Lockage Priority:

  1. U.S. Military Craft
  2. Commercial Passenger Craft
  3. Commercial Tows
  4. Commercial Fisherman
  5. Pleasure Boats
Lockage Procedures:
  • When approaching the lock, wait for the proper signal; then enter at a reduced speed.
  • Safety is the prime consideration when locking any type vessel through a lock.  Lock operators must require all of the following people to wear personal flotation devices (life jackets) when locking through each lock on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway:
    • The person catching and/or tending a line.
    • All people on a deck outside handrails.
    • All children under twelve years of age.
    • Any other person the duty operator considers in danger of falling overboard.
  • All vessels must have a mooring line and must be properly secured to a mooring bit (not a fixed bit) prior to the beginning of lockage. Floating mooring bits have the potential to become stuck, either by debris or damage to the bit or recess tracks, causing the bit to not rise or fall with the water level. To prevent accidents involving stuck floating mooring bits, vessels are instructed to “loop” the mooring line around the floating mooring bit instead of actual tying off to the bit or boat cleat.  Once the mooring line is looped around the floating mooring bit, a person either holds the line in his/her hand or loops around cleat on vessel in manner that line can be released from the bit or cleat quickly to avoid the vessel being pulled by a stuck mooring bit.
  • Wait for the lock operator's signal to leave the lock and travel at a reduced speed.
  • For your own safety, vessel operators must obey all directions given by the lock operator.
  • Restricted areas around the locks are indicated by buoy lines and signs.  These areas are restricted for all activities including fishing.

Lock Closures:

  • No lock closures are scheduled for 2016.

For more information regarding lock closures, call (662) 327-2142 or visit the Mobile District's Navigation Notices Website.

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