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Low water may close Kings Point Ferry intermittently

Kings Point Ferry in Northwest Warren County. (File photo The Vicksburg Post)

[08/20/04] Low water means the Kings Point Ferry may have to be closed from time to time, Warren County supervisors were told Thursday.

The ferry across the Yazoo Diversion Canal is the only year-around access to Kings Point, an agricultural, timber and hunting area west of downtown Vicksburg.

Richard Winans, county road manager, briefed supervisors Thursday, saying a silt buildup is making loading and launching the ferry barge difficult and expensive.

Winans said the county had the same situation in 2003, but borrowed a long-reach excavator from Puckett Equipment of Jackson. A similar piece of equipment to remove the silt is not available this year.

“At some point in time, you’ve got to be reasonable about access to that island,” Winans said, adding he has had county employees working 10-hour days to accommodate vehicles going to and leaving Kings Point. “We had six trips yesterday.”

Because of the silting, the work crew had to pull the barge to the landing and then shove it back in the water, Winans said.

An alternative, he told the board, is to notify all users of Kings Point the ferry would be closed from time to time when it becomes too costly to continue operation.

The area was cut off from the rest of Warren County when the Yazoo Diversion Canal was built more than 100 years ago, and the land is now privately owned.

Earlier this year, supervisors awarded a contract to Tensas Machine and Manufacturing for $623,100 to build a new ferry barge and push boat for delivery in 2005 to replace the old barge and push boat.

Also earlier this year, the ferry was out of service for some time because a required Coast Guard inspection revealed repairs were needed on the barge and it had to be placed in drydock. The repairs cost about $65,000.

The county budgets about $230,000 a year to operate the Kings Point Ferry and supervisors have asked the Army Corps of Engineers to move ahead with a study of a project that might lead to year-around road access.