Vidalia marina work under way

Published 11:08 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2008

VIDALIA — Work is under way on yet another project on the Vidalia riverfront.

This time, the construction is the new Vidalia marina, a project that has been in the works for approximately two-and-a-half years.

“We are excited about (the marina),” Mayor Hyram Copeland said. “It is another aspect of enhancing different projects we have got on the riverfront. This is something everyone can use.”

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Work on the project began early last week, and today contractors performed soil density tests on the area that will eventually be the first phase of the marina.

During the first phase of construction, the existing boat ramp on the south end of the riverfront will be replaced with a more direct approach from the road, and it will be extended so that boaters will have access even at the lowest water points, Copeland said.

The first phase also includes the widening of an existing parking area to better accommodate boats, and a portion of the river walk had to be lowered to make the ramp more accessible.

Work on the first phase of the project, which is being built at a cost of $345,000, should last approximately 60 days.

When the construction is completed, the public should immediately be able to use the new ramp, and it is likely they will be allowed continued access even while phase II construction is ongoing, Copeland said.

Funding for the project came through a congressional act and was administered by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Copeland said he hopes to see construction on the second phase of the marina — which will include a floating dock that will rise and fall with the river — begin by summer of 2009.

But that all depends on what kind of and how much grant funding the city can get for the project.

“We have been very, very fortunate, but it is getting harder as money is tightening up to get these grants,” Copeland said.

Plans for the second phase also include a wave alternator to the north of the marina to keep extreme waves and floating debris from striking the dock.

The plan for the third phase of the project is to expand docking.

Once completed, the marina will be the only docking area for pleasure craft between Vicksburg and Baton Rouge.