Will the Ameristar Hotel slip into the deep?

A local professional engineer recently wrote a short report (which was copied to us) wherein he describes the possibility that the new Ameristar Casino Hotel, and possibly our old bridge, may fall victim to an “unstable and unexplored deep slope failure.” He goes on to explain that the river front “has been observed to be sliding into the Mississippi River inch by inch over a period of 25 years.” This process is influenced by any rapid drop in river level, for “when the river falls rapidly the hydrostatic head of water in the slope is no longer balanced by lowered water level in the river. The ability of the friction in the soil to resist movement is overcome and the slope moves toward the river until the water pressure is released.” Other factors that could aggravate the slide effect include pile driving or an earthquake originating along the New Madrid fault line, either of which could create “a phenomenon known as liquefaction. It occurs when the water saturated sand foundation is triggered by a relatively minor seismic wave. It causes sudden, dramatic, and total failure where the soil foundation engulfs the structure.”

The short report was given to the city pro bono, and not at their request, but the city has had no comment.

The repair of long fissures along the roadways and parking lots around the casino are there to be seen by anyone, and may be evidence of this “slippery slope.” As far as the casino hotel, however, surely the support piles were driven deep enough that it would survive a catastrophic shift of the slope beneath it. And, hopefully, the eastern concrete pier that supports the old bridge was designed with such sliding effects in mind. The engineer’s report, however, is certainly food for thought.

Published in: on August 6, 2007 at 6:30 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Given the unpredictability of the river and if the problem isn’t dealt with in a reasonable time,both could risk slipping in the river. Now why isn’t this report made public? Especially on the old bridge where certain parties would like to build a bridge park.
    With safety issues over infrastructures,especially bridges thsi report should be made public.

  2. I sure hope nothing happens to the Ameristar Casino or any of the other casinos. With the tax breaks we get, not to mention the improved roads, money for education, and the much needed money for law enforcement, it would be a real shame to lose a portion of that.

    Now, when does all that start? Maybe it hasn’t been long enough yet…

  3. Vicksburg would be in deep dodo if all that casino money was lost. We’ve added so many things (parks, landscaping, senior center, etc., etc.) that require so many maintenance and operating personnel – plus the new bond issues that have to be paid off – that taxes on the local populace would have to double or triple. Scary thought.

  4. Now physically this must has been going for longtime. The river never stay stills but its in constant motion and with the droppage of the river stage; any projects along the river bank should be examine. Remember that this port is founded on soil that not’s firm at all; but wind blowned in. Listen what about th convention center that water seep in from the ground a few years ago. Now with these crack and fissures showing show call showboat projects should reexamined. Scary thought yes, but listen reality of land phyiscal changes can’t be ignored.

  5. We should not care if the casinos float down river one night. If the administrations would have done what they said we would not have had to worry about taking care of trees and etc.
    The casinos were to LOWER PROPERTY TAXES not plant trees.

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