Port keeps trucks on main route DiamondJacks, IP mill shutting down as water rises

Published 12:30 am Saturday, May 7, 2011

Flood waters won’t hinder access to the Port of Vicksburg for now, officials said Friday. Meanwhile, DiamondJacks Casino and International Paper announced they would temporarily shut down due to the rising river.

Big rigs, for the time being, should be able to deliver goods to the 25 businesses at the port via the usual route, North Washington Street and U.S. 61 North, said Vicksburg Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman.

“We’re keeping everything as normal,” Van Norman said Friday. “I think we’ll be fine until we have to get an alternate plan to keep the port moving.”

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Keeping business at the port up and running depends on trucks being able to access Haining Road and U.S. 61 North along North Washington. If water crosses North Washington, one detour would be Sherman Avenue, officials said. Sherman is closed to trucks, and no weight limit is posted. The maximum on most roads in Vicksburg and Warren County is 57,650 pounds.

Stages on the Mississippi River stood at 49.3 feet late Friday night, up 0.4 foot from Friday morning. The river is forecast to crest at 57.5 feet, which would put it past the 1927 flood by 1.3 feet. Levels at the Steele Bayou Control Structure were 89.6 feet on the land side and 98.1 feet on the river side.

An area between U.S. 61 North and the port is expected to flood, according to Army Corps of Engineers estimates. South of Interstate 20, flooding is predicted between the river and U.S. 61 South, extending into northwest Claiborne County and east on the Big Black River to Fisher Ferry Road.

On Friday, LeTourneau Technologies boated employees into its south Warren County yard after waters swept the access road and plant grounds. Small levees have been built near businesses north and south of town, including Ergon Marine and Anderson Tully.

Shutdowns announced Friday by DiamondJacks Casino and Hotel and International Paper cited the flood, access and safety.