Drainage grates being installed along Washington

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 24, 2003

[7/24/03]City officials have decided to add improved drain grates all along Washington Street whether or not they will end basement-level flooding that has closed one restaurant and bar.

Six grates costing $9,700 total have been purchased, and installation should begin Friday or early next week. The grates have angled vents, designed to catch rain water running south to north.

“Water has been bypassing old grates,” said Bubba Rainer, Vicksburg’s director of public works.

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Washington Street is in the midst of its first total reconstruction since 1975. The first two-block segment had been finished before water and sludge started flowing through the walls and into The Biscuit Company Cafe, 1100 Washington, which has closed.

Talks were under way between the restaurant’s attorney and the city’s attorney over the situation and engineers were reportedly trying to find the source of the water. There was no indication the new grates will be a complete solution, but they will get water off the street and into storm drains faster, Mayor Laurence Leyens said.

“The grates will have blades sticking up instead of a flat surface to catch water before it reaches the end of the road,” Leyens said.

The city is spending $5.6 million of a $17 million bond issue on the street makeover and other downtown projects.

Leyens said previously the new grates would cost $250 each and a test would be conducted. South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman said Wednesday the modification will proceed with no formal test. “We basically ordered the grates and are waiting for them to come in,” he said.