The M-146 Marine Highway Connector spans the 25-mile waterway between the Cedar Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel, connecting to the Port of Houston. A marine highway is a designated route for transporting cargo on water, reducing pollution and congestion on roads.
A container-on-barge service currently operating on the route has already cut regional roadway traffic by roughly 2,000 containers a month. The designation will provide the Chambers County waterway with preferential treatment for federal assistance from the Department of Transportation.
The department has invested $130 million in projects supporting marine highways since 2009.
The designation is one of the last official acts of Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary. The Senate confirmed Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Anthony Foxx as his replacement by a unanimous vote last Thursday.