Floodwall gate exercise to close road


August 15, 2012

POINT PLEASANT — A section of W.Va. 2/62 at the floodwall gate near the Point Pleasant Boat Dock will be closed for a few hours this Sunday.

The closure begins at 5:30 a.m. and the roadway should reopen around noon, according to Mayor Brian Billings.

This closure is mandated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which requires city employees erect the floodwall gate and then dismantle it - this is mandated every three years.

Those who typically travel this road during these hours are asked to find an alternate route.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience this may cause city and county residents, but it is something that we just have to do,” Billings said.

This building of the floodwall gates only to take them down again does serve a purpose, namely to make sure the equipment is up to date and still functional. City workers have been “practicing” on other gates as well this year but this particular flood gate is the only one which requires a state roadway to be closed for a period of time.

As reported this spring when workers were putting up the flood gate at Fourth St., since Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have established new regulations that affect towns that have a floodwall, like Point Pleasant.

These new FEMA regulations and requirements were put in place to prevent damage from flooding events and also include keeping any vegetation near the floodwall cut back and under control.

Though for many, the city’s floodwall has always been there, construction is said to have begun in 1949, finishing in 1952. In addition to the floodwall, Point Pleasant has several other resources to deter any overflowing rivers, including a diversion canal.

The floodwall gates of course serve a purpose as Point Pleasant has seen its fair share of flooding events. Though the 1937 flood is often mistaken for the largest, it was not.

According to the National Weather Service, the Ohio River crested at 62.8 feet on March 30, 1913 at Point Pleasant, barely beating out the Jan. 27, 1937 crest of 62.7 feet.

As for other record crests at Point Pleasant, here are the rest of the “top 10” according to the NWS - 60.7 feet on Feb. 11, 1884; 55 feet on April 16, 1948; 54.8 feet on March 18, 1907; 54.7 feet on Jan. 2, 1943; 54.4 feet on March 22, 1936; 54.3 feet on Jan. 1, 1943; 53 feet on April 24, 1901; 52.78 feet on March 9, 1945.