Rising river will dock Kings ferry

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An early-season crest coming down the Mississippi will stop Kings Point Ferry operations Wednesday afternoon, but have few other local effects.

The Mississippi has been on a rapid rise for about 10 days and is now expected to top out at 42 feet — a foot below flood stage — a week from today.

The ferry crosses the Yazoo Diversion Canal just upstream from the Port of Vicksburg and serves mostly private farming and hunting interests. Although the ferry received a green light for a new certificate of inspection from the U.S. Coast Guard, it can’t operate when stages are too high on the Mississippi.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Warren County Road Manager Richard Winans told supervisors Monday the Coast Guard cited three deficiencies with various equipment on board the vessel, including life vests, rings and safety chains. They had “been taken care of,” he said, and the county-owned boat was going from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. operating hours this week, or at least until the “close of business” Wednesday.

The National Weather Service Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center is reporting crests have been reached upstream at Caru-thersville, Mo. A crest at Memphis is expected Wednesday and at Greenville Monday.

A spring rise on the Mississippi is normal due to winter rains and subsequent snowmelt. Another rise can be expected to start later this month.

At Kings Point, two pilots man the vessel, Winans said. Until last year, supervisors considered asking the Coast Guard to lower the certification level required by boat operators to cut costs of paying master pilots.

The current vessel cost more than $600,000 when it was purchased in 2005. Alternatives to water-borne transportation to the island had centered on a levee road, but federal funds to study construction of a raised driving surface have fallen short. In 2008, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers returned more than $124,000 in matching money the county had paid for the report.

Kings Point was cut off from the mainland of Warren County when the Yazoo Diversion Canal was dug in 1903.

Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at dbarrett@vicksburgpost.com