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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Mississippi River in Louisiana is getting deeper.

The state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday agreed to start deepening the shipping channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Baton Rouge from a depth of 45 feet (13.7 meters) to 50 feet (15.2 meters). The move will also provide deep draft access to the ports at Plaquemines, New Orleans, South Louisiana and Baton Rouge, officials said.

One foot of additional depth will allow about $1 million in additional cargo, enabling vendors to use the Mississippi River, once the dredging is completed, and its inland tributaries versus the more expensive land bridges, state officials said.

“When completed, this project will allow larger vessels that can currently use the widened Panama Canal to reach Louisiana ports as far north as Baton Rouge," Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news release.. "It will also allow for some vessels to carry heavier loads. Nationwide, industries that depend on this Mississippi River to move goods will benefit greatly from this dredging project.”

Once completed, the deepening project will provide and expand global markets for Louisiana farmers, manufacturers and neighbors who rely on goods for jobs and their quality of life, the governor said.

“More capacity means greater efficiency in transportation and less costs for our Nation’s producers," said Army Corps of Engineers Maj. Gen. Diana Holland, commander of the Mississippi Valley Division. "From a benefit cost perspective, that equates to a benefit (of) $7.20 for every dollar spent on operation and maintenance, a significant return on investment.”

Funding for the approximately $250 million project has been allocated through a variety of sources, the governor said. As the non-federal sponsor, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has committed $81 million, he said.

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54-hole lead remains a major problem for Dustin Johnson

The 54-hole lead has been a major problem for Dustin Johnson.

The 2016 U.S. Open winner entered the final round of the PGA Championship atop the leaderboard and shot 68 on Sunday. But he wound up tied for second behind first-time major winner Collin Morikawa.

Johnson is now 0 for 4 after taking at least a share of the lead into the final round of a major.

This one didn’t have the drama of some of his previous major losses, both of the squandered lead and failed comeback variety — the grounded club in the bunker at Whistling Straits, the three-putt from 12 feet at Chambers Bay.

Instead, it was just a slow, relatively routine ride to second place.

Johnson finished Saturday with a one-shot lead at 9 under and made the turn at minus-10. But he failed to birdie the par-5 10th — three-putting from 17 feet — after most of the competition had done just that.

By the time he reached No. 14, he had fallen behind by a stroke, thanks to Morikawa’s chip-in on that very hole moments earlier.

Johnson couldn’t match him — not even close. He drove into the rough, hit his approach into the sand and had to punch out sideways, leaving him 34 feet from the hole. By the time he had tapped in for bogey, he trailed by two.

About 10 minutes later, Morikawa drove the green on the par-4 16th and made his eagle putt, and from there, it was a race for second.

Johnson’s lone major victory had two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka dissing him on Saturday, saying he felt good going into the final round because “DJ’s only won one.” Rory McIlroy came to Johnson’s defense, noting Johnson has 21 career wins to Koepka’s seven.

“If you’ve won a major championship, you’re a hell of a player,” said McIlroy, who has won four. “Sort of hard to knock a guy that’s got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has.”

Koepka started the day at 7 under, two strokes behind Johnson, but failed to capitalize, shooting 39 on the front nine.

Johnson couldn’t close the deal, either, but he did close strong.

Down by four strokes with three to play, Johnson had to take a penalty drop on the par-4 16th when he drove into a hazard to the left of the green. But he chipped in from 50 yards away to make birdie, joining the logjam at 10 under.

Then on No. 18, Johnson sank a 17-foot birdie putt to tie Paul Casey for second.

___

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