Levee, 61 expected to go under Saturday

Published 12:32 pm Monday, May 9, 2011

By Saturday, the Yazoo Backwater Levee and sections of U.S. 61 North in Redwood are expected to be overtopped by water, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps expects to finish laying 4 miles of polyvinyl on the levee from the mainline Mississippi River levee to the Steele Bayou Control Structure to head off scouring before the river crests, spokesman Kavanaugh Breazeale said.

“That levee is designed to overtop,” Breazeale said. “We’re putting measures in place so that the water doesn’t eat it away.”

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The time frame for water to top the 28-mile levee is tied to the river’s expected rise to 56.3 feet on Saturday.

U.S. 61 North at Mississippi 3 in Redwood is expected to close Saturday; U.S. 61 at Mississippi 465 is expected to close Saturday, the Mississippi Department of Transportation said late this morning.

U.S. 61 South at the Big Black River also is likely to close, though MDOT has announced no date for the move.

Three low areas on each side of 61 are being raised to reach 107 feet, where water on the river side of the control structure is expected to crest by May 19. Levels on the land side will crest at 95 feet by June 15, the Corps said in a presentation to the Delta Council on Friday.

The Corps predicts parts of North Washington Street north of the Port of Vicksburg are predicted to overtop, with traffic re-routed through downtown Vicksburg. In recent days, city officials have held out against routing trucks away from the usual truck route until the water comes. Sherman Avenue has been mentioned as a possible detour off U.S. 61 North.

Eagle Lake was 87.3 feet this morning. A 2-acre berm around sand boils found at the Buck Chute levee west of the lake was built in recent weeks. The Muddy Bayou Control Structure is filling the lake to 90 feet to ease pressure on the levee from the east. The Corps plans to fill and cap the 2 acres where the dirt was taken with 20,000 cubic yards of sand and clay.