Headwaters Access to open Sept. 26 following upgrades to entrance road, parking, angled boat ramp

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has finalized renovations at Headwaters Access, located off S. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau, following a boat ramp replacement with an improved parking lot and entrance road. The area will be open to the public Sept. 26.

MDC leases Headwaters Access from the Little River Drainage District (LRDD) with the purpose of providing fishing and recreational access to the Castor River Diversion Channel, which connects to the Mississippi River. The LRDD approved the addition of the access in 1967 and the original ramp construction occurred in 1969, with the most recent repairs occurring in 2007.

“MDC’s partnership with the Little River Drainage District has been an integral asset in providing recreational opportunities,” said Jennifer Behnken, MDC’s area manager for Headwaters Access. “Leasing Headwaters Access from the Little River Drainage District is a prime example of two organizations working together for the common good.”

Due to past maintenance challenges, MDC Design and Development Supervisor Ronnie Thurston said the decision was made to construct an all-concrete road and parking area. Past high-water events caused structural damages to the ramp, so the new ramp has been constructed and repositioned with a downstream angle.  The new angle of the ramp will reduce maintenance needs.

The construction involved pouring more than 7,000 square yards of concrete to improve the ramp, add additional parking, improve traffic flow, and increase flood resilience for the heavily used access.

“The new design will reduce bank erosion and maintenance while increasing the parking area and improving ease of public access to the Diversion Channel,” said Thurston.

MDC’s project engineer Barbara Li said, “Construction on this project began in September of 2018 and was expected to take four months. Unfortunately, high water levels and multiple flood events delayed completion of the project. We’d like to thank our contractor, Kluesner Construction, Inc., and the public for their patience with this project.”

Headwaters Access is located off S. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau. The access is along the Castor River Diversion Channel three miles upstream of the Mississippi River. For additional fishing and river opportunities, visit https://mdc.mo.gov.