LeTourneau boat ramp getting smoother surface

Published 11:41 am Friday, December 7, 2012

LeTourneau Landing should be a smoother place to put a boat in the Mississippi River by year’s end.

Buckled concrete at the public boat launch’s low-water ramp is being removed and replaced with a fresh slab over the next two weeks, said John Skains, a biologist and boating access coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

The landing will close for two days during the work week of Dec. 17-21, once a new surface is poured, so it can set, Skains said. Weather conditions that week will determine which two days the launch closes, Skains said.

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Sections of the ramp submerged for weeks at a time during the river’s floods in 2011 and 2008 have shifted during this year’s near-record low stages. The river was 0.8 feet in Vicksburg this morning, up five-tenths of a foot.

Though it is open while the work is ongoing, boaters are asked to be mindful of debris or other hazards when maneuvering boat trailers, Warren County District 4 Supervisor Bill Lauderdale said.

“There will be a period of 10 to 14 days that it may be difficult or impossible to launch a boat,” Lauderdale said.

Maintenance agreements at LeTourneau and public launches at Eagle Lake and at Old Twin Lake Road allow MDWFP to perform major improvements at each. Skains said rebuilding the lower ramp at LeTourneau falls into the “major” category and will cost about $10,000.

The county road department handles smaller maintenance jobs at each launch. Private firms are hired to cut grass. A launch facility at City Front is maintained by the City of Vicksburg for access to the Yazoo Diversion Canal.