Alton preparing for another flood fight this weekend

ALTON, Ill. – The flood fight is back on again in Alton as authorities are preparing for a Mississippi River crest this weekend that will likely be higher than the one just earlier this month.

Alton city officials met with IDOT Wednesday to talk about dealing with more high water. City workers spent part of the afternoon putting big concrete blocks in the area. The blocks will be used to help build a flood wall to protect the downtown business district.

Workers are going to build the wall on Thursday.

It will be the third time that the wall has been constructed this spring. It went up earlier this month and last month as well.

“We’ll build a concrete wall, reinforce the backside to counter the force of the river. And on the face of the wall, we’ll line it with a heavy-duty plastic. And, basically, just think of it as a pool liner,” said Bob Barnhart, the Director of the Alton Public Works Department.

Downtown businesses like Morrison’s Irish Pub are already feeling the impact of the water rising again.

In fact, Morrison’s is already pumping water out of its basement. The business just reopened Tuesday after being closed for a little over two weeks following the flood earlier this month. It was also closed for a week last month because of flooding.

“It’s heartbreaking and it seems to be getting worse. But any more and especially when it comes this rapidly where our hearts really break is for our employees. You know they live pay check to pay check, this is devastating to them...You have to hang tough and you have to do the best job you can to keep this going,” said Mary Morrison.

Due to rising water, the Raging Rivers WaterPark in Grafton has postponed its opening from this Saturday to next Saturday, June 1.

At this point, the Mississippi is slated to crest overnight Sunday into Monday at just over 35 feet. That’s higher than the crest on May 6 of around 34.7 feet.

The expected crest this weekend could be the fifth-highest on record in Alton.

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