Marina work stalled a bit

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 3, 2009

VIDALIA — Work on the first phase of the Vidalia Marina has been stalled, but officials said it should resume soon and be finished by spring.

Work on the marina began in mid-October, and at the time officials expected the work to be finished in 60 days.

Environmental factors, however, have caused some delays.

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“They have had some bad weather the last few weeks,” Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said. “The river is also on the rise.”

The timeline may have changed a bit, but Copeland said he expects to see the first phase completed by mid-March.

The first phase of the project, in which the existing boat ramp on the riverfront’s southern end will be replaced with a wider ramp that is more directly accessible from the road, will be completed at a cost of $345,000.

The first phase also included the widening of an existing parking lot for better boat accommodation, which has been completed, and lowering a portion of the riverwalk for easier ramp access.

The funding for the project was given by a congressional act, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries administered the monies.

The second phase of the project will include a floating dock that rises and falls with the river and a wave alternator to the north to block debris and disturbances in the water.

The city hopes to see that part of the project begin this summer, Copeland said.

That all hinges on funding, though.

“We are going to Washington, D.C., the first week in February and will hopefully be discussing it with the congressional delegation, and hopefully some money will be available through stimulus funds that may be made available,” Copeland said.

Along with the second phase, Copeland said the new ramp will be lengthened to reach the low-water level of the river during the summer.

A proposed third phase for the project will include more waterfront docking.

There are currently no docking points for pleasure craft between Vicksburg and Baton Rouge.