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Intracoastal Waterway

From Academic Kids

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Tug and barge on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

The Intracoastal Waterway is a 4,800 km (3,000 mile) long recreational and commercial waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Some lengths are natural and others are man made. One of the older portions is the Dismal Swamp Canal in the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and North Carolina.

The creation of the Intracoastal Waterway was first authorized by the United States Congress in 1919. It is maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The toll-free waterway is maintained at a minimum depth of 12 ft (4 m) for most of its length; some parts have 7-ft (2.1-m) and 9-ft (2.7-m) minimum depths.

The waterway consists of two non-contiguous segments: the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, extending from Brownsville, Texas to Carrabelle, Florida, and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, extending from Key West, Florida to Boston, Massachusetts. The two segments were originally intended to be connected via the Cross-Florida Barge Canal across northern Florida, but this was never completed due to environmental concerns.

The Intracoastal Waterway has a good deal of commercial activity; barges haul petroleum, petroleum products, foodstuffs, building materials, and manufactured goods. It is also used extensively by recreational boaters.

Waterways used for and bridges over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway

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A map of the southern section of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, courtesy Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association.

Florida

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Sunset from the Intracoastal Waterway in Hobe Sound

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