Silver Street closes; covered by flood waters

Published 12:30 am Sunday, April 6, 2008

NATCHEZ — Silver Street has been closed at its base as the swollen Mississippi River has spilled on to the street, causing it to become impassable.

City Engineer David Gardner said the decision was made at 9 on Saturday morning.

“Flood waters have overtaken the sandbags at the base of Silver Street and forced us to close down that end,” he said.

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The street no longer makes a loop and all drivers must turn around at the point it has been blocked off.

“We turned it into a temporary two way street,” Gardner said. “You can still descend down but you have to turn around and go back up.”

Parking is restricted on the street to allow more width for the cars to pass each other.

Gardner said the city will no longer try to sandbag Silver Street at that point.

“We decided to move the sandbagging efforts (to higher ground) instead of protecting Silver Street which is really futile,” he said. “There’s no sense in trying to sandbag that area.”

D.A. Biglane Street has been closed off beyond the Isle of Capri parking lot.

The casino’s shuttle buses are the only vehicles allowed to traverse that road, Gardner said.

“We’ve closed and restricted it to the casino personnel only,” he said.

The casino will continue to operate for the time being, as no safety hazards have been posed yet.

Gardner said once the river reaches around 54 feet, which it is predicted to do at the beginning of next week, the city will have to rethink the casino’s operations.

“When the river reaches 54 or 54 1/2 feet, we’re going to have to make a decision whether D.A. Biglane is going to remain open,” Gardner said.

“When the city closes that street down, it’s basically closing down the casino.”

The situation will be reassessed on Monday or Tuesday, he said.

The river is expected to crest at 56 feet by April 15.

As of late afternoon Saturday, the river was at 52.6 feet.