Warren County vows to help pay for widening of canal

Published 6:54 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Warren County vows to help pay for widening of canal

VICKSBURG (AP) — Warren County officials have offered to provide some financing, if needed, for the widening of the Yazoo Diversion Canal.

Supervisors made the commitment this past week in case grant funds sought by the City of Vicksburg fall short.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The 102-year-old canal was dug to restore a waterway at Vicksburg’s City Front after the Mississippi River changed course after the Civil War. It now connects the Port of Vicksburg and E.W. Haining Industrial Center to the Mississippi.

Vicksburg officials are seeking an additional grant because the lowest bid came in more than $1 million over the federal government’s estimated cost of the project. The $4.6 million bid by Cleveland, Miss.-based 4H Construction Corporation expires Oct. 20.

About $650,000 in block grants transferred from other projects remain pledged to the city to pay for the project, but so far only about $500,000 has been secured, City Attorney Nancy Thomas said.

“That difference ($150,000) will ultimately decide if we’ll be OK without it or not,” Thomas said.

Increasing the width of the canal has been seen as vital to increase its capacity, thereby spurring the business at the county port.

Plans for the widening call for turning a 150-foot bottom width into a 250-foot bottom width from the junction with the Mississippi River to Glass Bayou and 200-foot bottom from there to the entrance to the harbor channel.

Officials began looking at widening the canal in the 1990s as tonnage moved to and from the Mississippi River gradually increased. Bulk materials moving through the port during August was reported by Kinder Morgan Bulk Terminals Inc. at 25,220 tons, up by nearly 6,000 tons over July.