Bridges are being widened on I-59

Published 3:19 pm Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Six bridge locations along Interstate 59 in Pearl River County are being widened.

Those six locations will involve the widening of 12 bridges. Workers are currently working on the bridge that goes across the Hobolochitto Creek between the Picayune exits. Additional work will move north before coming back south along the interstate, Mississippi Department of Transportation District Engineer Red Stringfellow said,

The work began in September and is expected to be complete by the fall of 2010. Funding for the work is part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

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The $9.9 million project will add 6-foot shoulders to bridges on the left hand side, the side closest to the median, and 12-oot shoulders to the right side of the bridges.

Two bridges on the interstate inside the county will not be part of the work. The reason is because the project is a design-build project so the project must total less than $10 million, Stringfellow said. T.L. Wallace was the winning bidder for the project but bid to widen only 12 of the county’s 14 bridges along the interstate within that budget.

Stringfellow said MDOT is looking into getting more funding to do the work to the remaining to bridges, which are located at Red Creek near mile marker 40.

When completed, the work will provide two benefits. Stringfellow said motorists will be safer as they travel along the wider bridges. Also during times of contraflow emergency vehicles will be able to use the shoulders to get to emergencies. Currently there is no room to pass contraflow traffic congestion on the bridges.

A similar project is underway in Lauderdale County. Meridian is the county seat.

Everyday traffic will be affected with lane closures while the work is taking place, but at least one lane will always be open. Stringfellow said that during hurricane season work will cease when a storm is in the Gulf of Mexico.