Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway

The Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway, often called the Tenn-Tom, is a 234-mile man-made waterway that extends from the Tennessee River to the Tombigbee River connecting major inland ports from Paducah, Kentucky to Knoxville, Tennessee.   

As early as 1540, European explorers visioned and advocated for this connected waterway that would help with settlement of the region.  In 1810, the City of Knoxville petitioned Congress to build the waterway as an important economic trade route to the major ports in New Orleans.  A project steeped in 100 years of political wrangling, construction finally began in 1977. 

The Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway links commercial navigation from the nation’s midsection to the Gulf of Mexico.   The waterway boast 10 locks and dams, 17 public ports and terminals, a 175-foot (53 m) deep cut between the Tombigbee River watershed and the Tennessee River watershed, and 234 miles of navigable channel.  Over 88,000 acres of land were reserved for public recreational use and wildlife habitat.  Construction was completed in twelve years by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and opened on December 1984.

The Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway, often called the Tenn-Tom, is a 234-mile man-made waterway that extends from the Tennessee River to the Tombigbee River connecting major inland ports from Paducah, Kentucky to Knoxville, Tennessee.   

Earlier work of the Tennessee Valley Authority in improving navigation along the Tennessee River was instrumental in driving down the cost of the original project estimates. The outcome has been a system of navigation that serves multiple states and opens economic opportunities to rural river communities. The Carter Administration selected the Tennessee-Tombigbee as a national demonstration program of how large public works projects can favorably impact rural America.

 

 

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 35.115535 Longitude: -88.402814 Elevation: 547 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Julie Graham

Length of Byway or Route

234 miles

Driving Directions

Marina Locations: links

Campsites: links

Hunting: map link

Highlights and Key Points Along the Route

The Tenn-Tom is part of America's Great Loops for boat cruising.

Camping, Boating, Fishing, picnicking, and Hunting: http://recreation.tenntom.org/

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