Local firm wins contract to build ferry at Kings Point

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 3, 2004

[2/3/04]A Vicksburg firm has won a county contract to build a new boat and barge to replace those in service at the Kings Point Ferry.

County engineer John McKee told Warren County supervisors Monday he recommended the low bidder, Big River Shipbuilders, which offered to complete the project for $533,000 plus 5 percent for contingencies.

He said the county will have to match Mississippi Department of Transportation State Aid Division funds with the $33,000 balance of the cost plus $63,900 in work on the ferry ramp.

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The barge will be 65 feet long and 30 feet wide. The boat will be 35 feet long and be powered by two 235-horsepower engines for a total output of 470 horsepower.

McKee said the boat needs that much power because the new ferry will operate without a guide cable.

Kings Point is northwest of the Port of Vicksburg and was isolated from the remainder of Warren County when the Yazoo Diversion Canal was opened a century ago. Owners of hunting camps, timber and farming operations there have been served by a ferry since.

Over the past 10 years, there has been litigation over the hours of ferry service as supervisors protested costs.

Getting the replacement contract has been a lengthy process. Initially there were no bidders and, in a second round, bids were rejected. A second bidder in the latest round was from Tensas Parish.

In other action Monday, supervisors:

Declared an emergency installation of a berm on the perimeter road at River Region Medical Center. McKee said soil under the road is likely to slide and take out the road, sewer lines and telephone lines. The road is one of those the county built in support of the hospital that opened in February 2002.

Acknowledged receipt of a $100,000 grant from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to pave the road leading to the LeTourneau boat landing.

Took under advisement an increase in contribution to the Vicksburg Area Red Cross Chapter to raise the pay and benefits for the veterans service officer from $22,886 to $28,800.

Accepted a new fire truck for the Eagle Lake Volunteer Fire Department and authorized paying $43,995 from fire insurance premium tax rebate money to pay the balance left after a grant from the Rural Fire Truck Assistance Program pays $50,000.

Gave authority to advertise for bids on the Tucker Road and Bowie-Oak Ridge Road projects.

Gave the county engineer authority to begin looking into an alternate land access to Lo Sto Road in the Eagle Lake Community because the land route would be cheaper than building a new bridge over Muddy Bayou.

Gave the county engineer and county attorney approval to begin the process to set a date for a public hearing on either an amendment to the county subdivision ordinance or adopting a new ordinance. Either change would require any new subdivisions to have paved streets if they are to be dedicated to the county.

Approved a $500 donation toward costs of the Feb. 14 dedication of a monument to black troops in the Vicksburg National Military Park. Organizers will have to print a program with an advertisement from the county to receive the money.