Industrial Drive at city’s port being shored up after flood

Published 11:19 am Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Industrial Drive at the Port of Vicksburg will be rebuilt after layers of soil left with the receding floodwater last spring, but it could be just the first step in a multiyear process of keeping it safe for heavy trucks.

A “beefed-up” berm will be built and shored up with stones at the toe of the ridge on which the road sits, County Engineer John McKee said. Sheet piles are to be driven below ground near the road to stop any surface erosion, he said. In December, Vicksburg-based Dirt Works Inc. won the contract for the work, which is funded with a $1.5 million federal highway grant to be matched 20 percent with local money, including port improvement funds from Warren County. Completion is expected within four months.

McKee said the scope of work will result in a safety factor of “just above” 1 — in engineering analysis dealing with stress, the ideal allowable ratio considered safe. Landslides since the bottomland forest north of the port went dry last summer caused the road to slough, and more work is likely, he said.

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“We’d like to get a 1.3 factor for safety,” McKee told the Warren County Port Commission Monday. “We’re not getting that, but it’ll be the best we can do.”

Long-term success could hinge on whether the city resumes mowing grass along the road’s edge. An attorney general’s opinion issued more than a decade ago confirmed municipal responsibility. Once the area is no longer a construction zone, the city will continue to mow along its right of way, public works director Garnet Van Norman said.

The road branches off Haining Road and is home to three businesses — Vicksmetal Armco, and satellite offices for Falco Chemical and Anderson-Tully. Water filled the approximately 1,000-acre bowl between the port and the Yazoo Diversion Canal as the Mississippi River crested at a record 57.1 feet last May 19, 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot higher than the 1927 mark.