Richmond to test flood walls soon

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -- In June, the City of Richmond will once again test its flood walls. It's an annual test, but one that comes on the heels of the massive flooding going on right now along the Mississippi River.

Casting his reel off the Mayo Bridge today, Richmond native Randolph Shelton remembers what it was like when these flood walls were not here.

"It was water everywhere, everywhere. It was pretty crazy back then," says Shelton.

He's talking about back then, before the flood walls were installed in the mid 90s. "There were guys in fishing boats trying to help people."

Now those same pictures are playing out in the south, as the Mississippi River overspills its banks and overtakes cities, casinos, anything in it's path.

Here in Richmond, the city says the flood walls are doing their job. In June, that will be put to the test during an annual inspection.

Just last year, the city worked on the tracks that the walls ride along, should they need to be closed.

"We just wanted to make sure there was no debris, nothing blocking the tracks," says Angela Fountain with the City Department of Public Utilities.

Since the walls have been built, the bottom has still flooded, especially when Gaston rolled through the area years ago.

The city has made some improvements, like adding and changing drainage in the bottom.

"On the steeper slopes, it gathers more water as it runs through the streets," says Fountain.

Those improvements were all completed in 2009. "We've had some pretty significant storms since 2009 and they are working perfectly."

No immediate plans are in the works for any more changes. Just routine maintenance.

The flood walls are scheduled to be tested on Saturday, June 11.

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