City of Vicksburg, Corps of Engineers amends Hennessey Bayou agreement

Published 2:46 pm Friday, September 10, 2021

Plans to build a proposed port near Entergy’s Baxter Wilson power plant have forced the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen to amend a contract it signed in 2018 with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District to study erosion problems along Hennessey Bayou.

The board’s action came at its Friday meeting. The city and the Corps signed an agreement in April 2018 enabling the Corps to help the city develop a plan to stabilize the west bank of Hennessy Bayou to build a new bridge on Kemp Bottom Road. Under the agreement, the city and the Corps split the study’s $75,000 cost. The amendment will cost an additional $69,000.

“Because of the discussion around putting a port in that site around this bayou, the bayou may have to be relocated and the Corps of Engineers will need to study what structures need to be put in place if we do get a port down there,” City Attorney Nancy Thomas told the board Friday.

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Moving the bayou, which flows into the Mississippi River at the Baxter Wilson plant, was recommended in a feasibility study on the port performed by Neel Schaffer Engineers.

The 2018 contract with the Corps involved resolving erosion issues on Hennessey Bayou to allow the city to replace a bridge on Kemp Bottom Road, the main access to the Baxter Wilson power plant.

But Neel Schaffer’s recommendation on the bayou has forced Corps to examine new issues involving the bayou, which overflowed its banks during the 2011 spring Mississippi River flood, when the river crested on May 19, 2011, at 57.1 feet, 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot above the Great Flood of 1927.

The erosion problem created after the flood forced the Kemp Bottom Road bridge to collapse in June 2017. The board in December approved a $3.45 million bid by T.L. Wallace Construction of Columbia, Miss., and construction is underway.

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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