Officials at the Port of Little Rock are assuring the public that the damage caused by rising waters in the Arkansas River, while still dangerous, will be limited. Preparations taken by port employees and local companies are expected to minimize the impact of flooding along Little Rock’s port sector.
Water is continuing to rise on the Arkansas River. At Ozark, the river is at 374.9 feet, or 17.9 feet above flood stage. The most recent update from the National Weather Service’s Little Rock office shows the Arkansas River at 26.2 feet in Little Rock, with the flood stage being 23 feet.
According to a statement released from the Little Rock Port Authority, the port’s flood gates have been closed in order to prevent water from flowing back into the port. Until the water level drops, the port will keep the gates closed.
“The rains we experienced last night will not help matters, but hopefully the drainage ditches at the port can accommodate this extra water,” port officials said in a statement.
Local industries are also making preparations for flooding. Logistic Services Inc., which is located on the south side of the river, has emptied its riverside warehouses and removed equipment from the docks, according to the statement.
Port officials say that minor damage to port property and along riverside industries, but businesses in the city’s industrial park (on the west side) are not expected to be affected.
“As of today, we have a high level of confidence that the industrial park will be fine and the levy will perform as designed.”
However, the rising water is having a major impact on industry in the port. Earlier this week, the Port of Little Rock ceased all barge traffic along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. More than 80 barges are in the city’s slackwater harbor, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
“The river is rising, the harbor is rising,” Day told the Democrat-Gazette. “There will come a point we won’t be able to work anymore because of the height of the river, and we’ll settle down and hope it starts dropping early next week.”