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Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

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Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
Leland Bowman Lock near Intracoastal City, Louisiana, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
The route of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
LocationGulf Coast of the United States
CountryUnited States
Length1,300[1] miles (2,100 km)
Date completedJune 18, 1949 (1949-06-18)
Start pointBrownsville, Texas
End pointSaint Marks, Florida[2]
Branch ofIntracoastal Waterway
Connects toVarious

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW[1]) is the portion of the Intracoastal Waterway located along the Gulf Coast of the United States. It is a navigable inland waterway running approximately 1,300 mi (2,100 km)[1] from Saint Marks, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas.

The waterway provides a channel with a controlling depth of 12 ft (3.7 m), designed primarily for barge transportation. Although the U.S. government proposals for such a waterway were made in the early 19th century,[3] the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway was not completed until 1949.[4]

EHL & WHL mileages[edit]

The Corps of Engineers marks the Intracoastal with channel markers like this one.

Locations along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway are defined in terms of statute miles (as opposed to nautical miles, in which most marine routes are measured) east and west of Harvey Lock, a navigation lock in the New Orleans area located at 29°54′32″N 90°05′02″W / 29.909°N 90.084°W / 29.909; -90.084. The Hathaway Bridge in Panama City, Florida, for example, is at mile 284.6 EHL (East of Harvey Lock). The Queen Isabella Causeway Bridge at South Padre Island is at mile 665.1 WHL (West of Harvey Lock).[5]

Connecting waterways[edit]

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway crosses or meets, and in some cases is confluent with, numerous other navigable rivers and waterways. They include:

Ports and harbors[edit]

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway enters Galveston Bay at Port Bolivar, Texas

Many of the busiest ports in the United States in terms of tons of cargo[6] are located on or near the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Notable ports on or near the waterway include:





See also[edit]


KML is from Wikidata
  1. ^ a b c Transportation Research Board 2004, p. 30.
  2. ^ US Army 2013.
  3. ^ Leatherwood, Art (15 June 2010). "Gulf Intracoastal Waterway". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  4. ^ Lynn M. Alperin. "History of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway" (PDF). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Office of History. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-12-08. Retrieved 2006-04-03.
  5. ^ "33 CFR 89.25 Waters Specified by the Secretary" (PDF). U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center. Retrieved 2006-04-21.
  6. ^ "Tonnage of Top 50 U.S. Water Ports, Ranked by Total Tons". U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved 2022-10-14.