Richmond to start testing floodwalls on Saturday

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Just about a week into the Hurricane season, the City of Richmond is getting ready to test its floodwalls. The work starts on Saturday, it lasts for a week, and it will affect your commute around town.

The city will be closing it's flood gates, but this is only a test. It's an annual event that the city takes part in. All to make sure the James River stays where it is and these floods gates close in an emergency.

We've all seen the James River angry and raging before. In fact, Richmond native Randolph Shelton remembers when the river used to spill its banks.

"It was water everywhere, everywhere. It was pretty crazy back then. There were guys in fishing boats trying to help people," Shelton said.

After those floods, the city built the floodwalls in the early 1990s. Since then, crews say its been working and now that work is going to be put to the test.

Crews will actually close the walls completely across the road and then reopen them to make sure there are no problems at all.

If there is a problem, crews will fix it right away because you never know when the next flood will happen.

Here is the schedule. The first test is set for Saturday on the floodwalls on the south side of the Mayo Bridge. On Sunday, crews will test the walls on the north side of the bridge. Other locations will be tested through next Friday.

Just last year the city worked on the tracks the flood wall goes along. It's all to make sure the gates close quickly and efficiently in an emergency.

The test will also make sure there is nothing along these tracks that jam up and stop the walls from closing.

The city says there is a standard amount of time that these walls must close within and that will also be checked during the tests.

Traffic will come to a halt during the testing. It will happen everyday in certain locations from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. During that time, there will be detour signs out here to let you know where to go to.

During the work on the Mayo Bridge, the best alternate will be to use the Manchester Bridge.

Here is the full schedule:

9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Saturday, June 11- South end Mayo Bridge
Sunday, June 12 - North end Mayo
Monday, June 13, Brander Street and Shockoe
Tuesday, June 14, Dock Street
Wednesday, June 15, 21st and Cary
Thursday, June 16, Norfolk Southern
Friday, June 17, CSX

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