City to receive more than $3M for Kemp Bottom bridge repairs

Published 6:18 pm Monday, March 4, 2019

Vicksburg is getting more than $3 million to repair the Kemp Bottom Road bridge.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to sign an agreement with the Mississippi Transportation Commission releasing $3.73 million in emergency road and bridge funds to replace the bridge.

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The money is expected to pay for the design and construction of a new bridge and stabilize the erosion problem on Hennessey’s Bayou that caused the previous bridge to collapse in 2017.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to protect the bridge,” Public works director Garnet Van Norman said.

Preliminary estimates have put the cost of replacing only the bridge at about $2 million.

The erosion problem that caused the bridge’s collapse dates back to the 2011 spring Mississippi River flood, when the river crested May 19, 2011, at 57.1, 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot above the Great Flood of 1927.

Engineers said the water entering Hennessy’s Bayou during the flood receded quickly, creating the erosion problem that caused the bridge collapse.

The Kemp Bottom Road bridge was closed July 25, 2017 when it was determined to be unsafe. It collapsed into Hennessey Bayou three days later, and was demolished in 2018.

The city in April 2018 signed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help develop a plan to stabilize the west bank of Hennessy’s Bayou to build a new bridge on Kemp Bottom Road.

Van Norman said city officials and representatives with Stantec, the bridge project engineer, met last week with Vicksburg District officials to discuss the project “so we can all get on the same page. We want to make sure what we do is in accordance with what the Corps of Engineers wants.”

Stantec, he said, is also the project engineer for a Natural Resources Conservation Service project to stabilize an erosion problem at the Warrenton Road bridge, which also crosses Hennessey’s Bayou, and some erosion problems on the Entergy property. The NRCS project, Van Norman said, will address the immediate needs at Warrenton Road and the plant.

The Corps, he said, is developing a plan to permanently stabilize erosion along the bayou.

“While they’re (the Corps) studying, we’re going to be building,” Van Norman said.

Located off Warrenton Road, Kemp Bottom Road, which is a public road, is the main access to Entergy’s Baxter Wilson power plant.

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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