VICKSBURG — The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Vicksburg District’s Mat Sinking Unit (MSU) is currently working within the Corps’ Memphis District boundaries laying articulated concrete mats (ACM) on the Mississippi River’s banks.
The ACM assists with the prevention of erosion and protects submerged riverbank areas.
The MSU has completed approximately 34 percent of the 2013 scheduled work with over 106,000 squares of ACM laid. If the squares that have been placed on the banks of the river this season were stacked, their height would surpass the height of Mount Everest.
The MSU began laying the mats at Mississippi River mile 512 near Greenville on Aug. 26 and progressed northward to complete work near Caruthersville, Mo. The MSU is now working southward to begin work within the Corps’ New Orleans District near St. Francisville, La., near river mile 434. The present goal is to distribute a total of 315,920 squares or approximately 69,875 linear feet of ACM by March 2014. Upon completion, the MSU will have worked 34 jobs from river mile 863 to river mile 30 on the Mississippi River.
“Work is progressing steadily and water levels on the river remain favorable,” said Joel Brown, acting chief of the Revetment Section in the Operations Division.
The mat-laying season is an annual mission that starts in the late summer months when river stages are low and continues until work is completed or river stages become too high to continue the work. The scope of work encompasses the three Corps districts of Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans and executing between $20 million to $60 million of work annually.
The MSU is the only one of its kind in the world and performs one of the most important jobs in the Corps’ river stabilization program. The MSU consists of the motor vessels BENYAURD, WILLIAM JAMES, and HARRISON, which work together to assist with the distribution of ACM squares on the river banks. The MSU employs approximately 65 full-time employees and 255 seasonal and temporary employees who reside in several states.