Contractors continue work on Iowa Boulevard slide area in Vicksburg

Published 3:50 pm Monday, September 26, 2022

Traffic remains restricted to two lanes on Iowa Boulevard at the U.S. 61 South intersection as workers for Hemphill Construction Co. of Florence continue working to shore up the street’s shoulder.

“We (the city) declared an emergency because we were fixing to lose the whole road,” Vicksburg Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said, adding the project cost is estimated at more than $1 million.

The project will be paid using money from a $4 million loan the city borrowed in anticipation of Federal Emergency Management funds.

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The street’s shoulder was damaged during heavy rains that hit Vicksburg and Warren County in January and April 2020, causing heavy erosion.

The site is one of seven areas in the city affected by erosion problems that have been approved by FEMA for emergency grant money, but no money has yet been allocated. Van Norman, however, said conditions on Iowa Boulevard forced the city to declare an emergency and move forward with the work.

The emergency declaration allowed the city to hire Hemphill to make the repairs without having to go through the bid process and further delay repairs.

“We just couldn’t wait anymore,” Van Norman said, adding that besides the erosion problem, the U.S. Department of Transportation warned city officials there was a gas transmission line that is not owned by the city at the bottom of the eroded area.

Van Norman said Hemphill will be driving steel sheet pilings and use tiebacks to stabilize the pilings.

“We’re trying to save Iowa,” he said. “We’re going to do what we have to do.”

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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