Drainage projects aimed at flooding in Kings area

Published 6:55 pm Saturday, August 5, 2017

City officials hope several proposed drainage projects for the North Ward will help alleviate drainage and flash flooding problems in the Kings community.

Officials are looking at four projects — three that would be funded in part through National Resource Conservation Service and Emergency Watershed Project grants — that North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said should control flash floods in the area and possibly reduce backwater flooding from the Yazoo Diversion Canal when the Mississippi River hits flood stage.

“What we’re trying to do is improve drainage on North Washington from the (U.S.) 61 North Bypass south to Haining Road, which is where the worst part of the flash flooding and backwater flooding is in Warren County,” Mayfield said.

“It’s a big task to undertake, but we have several things on tap that include at least three Soil Conservation projects; one that we’re trying to get through that includes Spouts Spring at Standard Hill Road,” he said.

One of the first projects planned for the area is an estimated $80,000 to $90,000 city-funded project to clean out box culverts along and North Washington, and remove silt from ditches on the west side of North Washington. The money for the maintenance project is already included in the public works department’s capital fund budget, public works director Garnet Van Norman said.

Mayfield added the project is not part of the $1 million in bond money designated for Kings.

The box culverts under North Washington Street have been affected by heavy rains twice. Heavy rains in August 2016 pushed silt into the drainage areas, clogging them and forcing the city to declare an emergency and hire a contractor to clean them.

The culverts were again clogged in early April, when the area was hit with a 10-inch rainfall that overwhelmed the city’s storm drain system and put water over North Washington, forcing its closure.

“We have natural drainage grades to go under North Washington Street and they go through box culverts of different sizes,” Van Norman said.

“We’re looking at probably declaring an emergency and getting quotes from contractors and go ahead and get them cleaned out before this winter,” he said. “We had them all cleaned out prior to the (last) big rain event.

“They’re all stopped up, water was running across North Washington Street, and it was a very dangerous situation and could very well take the road out. We need to get it done.” He said the project will clean the culvers and ditches from North Washington west to the Kansas City Southern Railroad tracks. It begins at the extreme northern end of North Washington and goes past Kings Gin Road and Kings Crossing Road. He said the project also involves cleaning seven ditches on private property, and the city has received rights of way to enter six of the seven pieces of property where the ditches are located.

City officials are seeking NRCS grant funding for three projects. The most serious involves correcting an erosion problem at Sherman and Union avenues, where a large ravine has developed between Sherman Avenue Park and Mount Zion Church. The estimated cost of the work is $600,000.

“We should hear something soon about the Sherman Avenue project,” Mayfield said. “We’ve been working on the erosion problem in that area between the ball field and the church.

“We’re going to have to go in and take out everything on the side of the hill; all the trees, all of everything, and do a conservation project. It’s going to be a big project; a difficult project.”

The other two projects involve drainage improvements from Pauline Drive east to Spouts Spring Road, and work from Pittman Avenue to Standard Hill Road. Spouts Spring and Standard Hill roads are on the east side of North Washington. No estimates have been determined for the two projects pending engineering.

Mayfield said the city is seeking NRCS Emergency Watershed Project grants for both projects. The grant program, he said, is designed to help areas that have been affected by substantial rainfalls in a short period of time.

“To get EWP funding, the problem has to involve a road or a utility,” he said.

“When you get torrential rains, sustained rains like we got, and it brings all the debris with it, once you get it in your storm drains and your culverts, and your bayous, it stops up everything.”

He said the initial proposed EWP projects were expanded to eliminate serious drainage problems caused by heavy rains.

“We’ve had roads that have been inundated (during heavy rains) in the Kings area,” Mayfield said. “You almost shut the whole area down when you have torrential rains that are sustained, because debris stops the flow, plus it inundates your major thoroughfare, North Washington Street.

“We’re expanding it to try and alleviate some of that. We’re trying to get it to a point where there really has to be a substantial rain to actually be able to cause problem.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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