Richmond closes two flood walls, officials warn to stay out of James River

Richmond closes two flood walls, officials warn to stay out of James River

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities announced it will activate the Dock Street and Brander Street flood walls as a precaution due to Thursday’s heavy rainfall.

The rain is pouring into the western parts of the James River Basin area, causing flooding concerns.

Dock Street will be closed from 17th to 21st for the closure. Traffic will be rerouted up 21st Street to Cary Street or Main Street.

The flood wall will re-open when water levels recede to a level safe to reopen Dock Street to traffic.

The closure of the Brander Street gate will occur later in the day and will impact the entrance to the City’s Waste Water Treatment Plant and Ancarrow’s Landing.

At Huguenot Flatwater, the gates have been locked and road closures signs are up in the area. So, neighbor Chip Shelton is doing his part to stop drivers before they get too close.

“It’s already water coming up across so...I was like ‘don’t go down that road,’” Shelton.

Richmond Fire Lt. Chris Armstrong says that since the water is so high on the James River, no one should be out on it.

“Anyone that goes out there may be taking a chance on their lives...If you go out there and you get yourself in some trouble, it may be impossible for us even with the powerboats to be able to go out and rescue individuals," Armstrong said.

“This is the highest I think we’ve seen, really in the 21st century, we had the river at about 18 feet about 10 years ago,” said Jamie Brunkow with the James River Association. “When we get to that level, we start to see roads underwater, we start to see really swift-moving water in the river itself, of course, logs, debris, stuff washing downstream that is very large, so river recreation is really off the table when it’s like this.”

If you want to check out the water levels, Brunkow asks you to be careful.

“Be very cautious, don’t get too close to the water, don’t reach over for a picture or anything like that, the river can be dangerous at this level, moving water, but certainly it is historic, and I can understand people’s interest in checking it out,” he said.

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