High water options in casino’s hand

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 27, 2001

It’s now up to Isle of Capri officials to decide whether they will construct an alternate route to the Natchez floating casino for better access during high water.

But the new plan would not allow the casino to remain open at higher river levels, only maintain a one-way flow of traffic, said City Engineer David Gardner.

Earlier this month, the Natchez Board of Aldermen voted to amend the city’s high water plan, which was first adopted in 1997 when spring flood waters caused the then Lady Luck casino to shut down for more than a week.

Under the original plan, Silver Street closes when the Mississippi River reaches 52 feet, the point at which water enters the street. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers considers 48 feet and rising to be flood stage.

Also at 52 feet, the portion of D.A. Biglane Street below the casino parking lot closes. Shuttle buses may still carry passengers to the boat ramp, which rests near the circular drive during high water.

Under both the old and amended plans, all access to the casino shuts down at 54 feet, Gardner said.

&uot;We’ve learned from experience when the water gets to 54 feet, that’s when we have real problems with emergency personnel,&uot; he said.

However, the amended plan allows the upper portion of Silver Street to remain open between 52 and 54 feet and permits construction of a 14-foot concrete driveway connecting with the circular drive at the foot of D.A. Biglane Street by way of the parking lot behind Magnolia Grill and the city-owned Little Street.