City facing repairs to Vicksburg Convention Center retaining wall

Published 4:02 pm Friday, August 11, 2023

The further deterioration of the 27-year-old wooden retaining wall at the Vicksburg Convention Center is forcing city officials to take a look at paying an engineering firm $100,000 to design and prepare construction specifications to repair it.

“In 2014, we did a study but couldn’t get anybody to fix it; this past year, there was water coming through the wall,” Community Development Director Jeff Richardson told the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at Friday’s budget meeting.

He said an engineering firm examined the wall, giving an estimate of $100,000 to prepare the plans and specifications to put the project out for bid.

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“A lot of the timbers are rotting,” Richardson said.

The wall was built when construction began on the convention center in 1996. It opened in 1997.

Because the convention center was built on a slope that ran down from Mulberry Street, the contractor cut into the slope to build the center and built the retaining wall to keep the slope and Mulberry Street from sloughing off into the convention center.

The wall has 10 inclinometers, which are used to indicate any shift in the soil around the center, that are checked annually by Kenner, La.-based Gillen Engineering.

City officials hired Burns Cooley Dennis, a consulting engineering firm that specializes in geotechnical engineering, to examine the problem.

According to a letter from the consultants to then-City Attorney Nancy Thomas, a report filed by Gillen after an inspection of the wall indicated “corroded steel elements and rotting wood lagging and possible potential loss of passive support behind the wall from siltation and piping of soils through the wall.”

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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