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More than $2M in federal money received to repair Hennessey Bayou erosion problem

The city of Vicksburg is getting more than $2 million in federal National Resource Conservation Service funds to repair an erosion problem on Hennessey Bayou affecting Kemp Bottom Road and a bridge on Warrenton Road.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to sign the final notice of the $2.238 million NRCS grant, which will help pay for the project to repair erosion damage caused by the 2011 Mississippi River flood and stabilize the bank. The city’s share is $678,400.

In a related matter, the board approved an agreement with Entergy for a permanent easement along Hennessey Bayou, which passes by the utility’s Baxter Wilson power plant.

“With the easement, once we do this, we’ll get the documents ready for construction and try to get it constructed once the river goes down,” city attorney Nancy Thomas said.

The board in March 2019 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.

The money is expected to pay for the design and construction of a new bridge on Kemp Bottom Road crossing Hennessey Bayou that caused the previous bridge to collapse in 2017.

The erosion problem leading to 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 Bayou during the flood receded quickly, creating the erosion problem that caused the bridge to collapse.

The Kemp Bottom Road bridge was closed on 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 the bayou to build a new bridge on Kemp Bottom Road.

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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