Updates Around Walkiah Weir Repair

Published 2:49 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2023

During the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors meeting, PRC Engineer Les Dungan and PRC Economic Director Lindsay Ward provided an update on the ongoing repair efforts concerning the Walkiah weir.

Dungan provided an overview of the weir repair work since the February flooding incident. “We have been diligently working on repairing the weir since the February floods. The estimated repair cost is approximately $12.5 million, with only $4 million available for allocation,” he stated.

The county is partnering with the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) to secure additional project funding and apply for a grant. During the grant process, USM sought support from the State of Louisiana, which raised concerns about the potential impact of the repair on waterways in their state.

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Acknowledging the challenges faced during the grant application and overall project, Dungan noted that this project has presented challenges. However, they remain optimistic about its completion. As a last resort, they have devised contingency plans, such as dredging a three-mile pilot channel to reintroduce flow to the east Pearl, and allow access to the local boat ramp, a step that can be taken with the current funding.

Ward echoed this optimism about the successful completion of the project and emphasized the need to address concerns from neighboring communities. She noted that repair discussions were part of the original plan dating back to the 1990s. She said the extensive repairs could have been avoided if the structure had been adequately maintained over the years. She also stressed that effectively communicating the project’s objectives to the community was important.

“We are committed to doing what is necessary to protect the Pearl River County waterways,” Ward said, reiterating the critical mission to safeguard the county’s essential natural resources.

The repair of the Walkiah weir remains a top priority, and local authorities are actively exploring various avenues to secure funding and address concerns within the community and from neighboring states. Progress and updates on this vital initiative will continue to be monitored closely.