Highway 11 widening now set for 2019

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 18, 2018

The Mississippi Department of Transportation has recently announced that the expansion of Highway 11 is on schedule to begin in the summer of 2019.

Public Information Officer Jas Smith said via email correspondence that the project is scheduled for a March letting. Construction will begin sometime in the summer. The highway will be in “boulevard style” with four lanes and raised medians.

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According to previous coverage from 2008, at that time, the plan was for construction to run from Hide-A-Way Lake entrance to the intersection of U.S. 11 and Miss. 43 N. Now, 10 years later, the project has been extended to expand the road from Cayten Street to Lakeshore Drive, Smith said.

Smith said via email that planning for the replacement of the Hobolochitto Creek bridge is also underway, with construction set to begin sometime in 2020.

Despite public concerns that the pedestrian walkway would be removed from the project, Smith confirmed that it will still be included. The walkway will be 5-feet wide, Smith said via email.

The bridge itself will consist of two 12-foot lanes and two 8-foot shoulders, he said via email. To avoid disrupting traffic, Smith said the department is planning to build the replacement bridge next to the current bridge, so lanes can simply be switched over once construction is complete. Smith said via email that the new bridge will be built to the direct east of the current bridge. The old bridge will be demolished once construction is complete.

This news comes shortly after the Picayune City Council signed an agreement with the Pearl River County Utility Authority to work with the same contractor when the water and sewer services are relocated. According to previous coverage, all utilities will need to be relocated before widening of the highway begins.

While the current schedule is 2019 for the widening and 2020 for the bridge replacement, Smith said via email that there are still several variables that could potentially affect the timeline.

“The schedule for both projects depends on utility relocation, and the bridge replacement project schedule is heavily dependent on right-of-way acquisition,” Smith said via email.