- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - The city of Natchez with help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to stop erosion of a riverbank and reduce a threat to a rail line just south of the Mississippi River Bridge.

The tracks are used in the rail operations in and out of the Natchez-Adams County Port.

“The erosion is not stopping the rail, but if it continues, it certainly could,” Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ told The Natchez Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1hgqWlh ).

“Obviously, we do not want any stopping or the rail or continued encroachment on those rails.”

Corps geotechnical engineers are advising local officials on the placement of rocks to stop erosion on the riverbank.

Greg Raimondo, a spokesman for the Corps’ Vicksburg District, says the erosion happened after a portion of the bluff above the railroad track sloughed off and blocked a drainage ditch on the bluff side.

With the ditch blocked, water was forced over the top of the tracks and began eroding the bank on the rail-river side, Raimondo said. If not addressed, the erosion could affect the base of the tracks.

“The bank is stable there, it is just getting eroded from above,” Raimondo said. “If they stay on it and keep that ditch nice and clear when it rains, it should be fine.”

The Corps was not able to provide more than technical assistance on the matter because it is on a private right of way and would require a special authorization similar to what was required during the bluff stabilization project in the 1990s, Raimondo said.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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