PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Public works crews in Pine Bluff have had their hands full recently. An EF-1 tornado hit the city on May 8, and preparations for historic flooding began soon after.
“It's been pretty hectic,” Rick Rhoden, City of Pine Bluff Street Department director, said. “We're doing our best to keep Pine Bluff safe.”
The impact of the Arkansas River flood can be seen throughout Jefferson County – including in Trulock Bay and Island Harbor Estates. But if there's any good news, Rhoden says it's that homes and businesses inside city limits have been spared for the most part.
“The water situation so far has been really good,” he said of conditions in town. “We haven't flooded anyone out we've had a few minor repairs here and there.”
On Wednesday, city crews built a secondary levee on Riverside Drive near Island Harbor Marina Road amid a reported issue with the primary embankment near Island Harbor Marina.
“This was a crack that developed [Wednesday] morning, and we built a secondary levee here to divert water away from Pine Bluff,” Rhoden said. “Water never come through it or over it yet. We just had a slide on one side of it.”
Rhoden is among public officials who have expressed concern about the effects of added pressure on levees resulting from prolonged high water.
“We're hoping we stay in good shape,” he said. “The only thing is the length of time the river is going to be up before it crests. We may develop other weak places and I'm hoping for the best and no flooding.”
On Thursday, an areal flood warning was issued for portions of Jefferson County ahead of Friday’s projected crest.