I-20 to be resurfaced from Halls Ferry to Old 27

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 26, 2001

Vehicles speed over patched potholes on Interstate 20 in the westbound lanes between Indiana Avenue and Halls Ferry Road. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[03/26/01] More than $200,000 will be spent over the next five months to resurface a Vicksburg part of Interstate 20 repeatedly plagued with potholes.

Dick Hall, central district commissioner, announced Friday that the Mississippi Department of Transportation has awarded a contract to American Field Service Corp. of Madison for $200,099.08 to resurface from 2.5 miles from Halls Ferry Road east to the bridge over Old Highway 27. All four of the east- and westbound lands of the highway will be repaired by sawing out the damaged sections and repouring the concrete.

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For years, the highway has given way to the pressure of the thousands of cars and trucks that travel daily over the highway, and for years the MDOT has patched the weaker spots in the concrete roadway with asphalt.

“It just seems that it is a big waste of money, in the long run, to keep repairing the road over and over, only to inconvenience the travelers even more than they already were by riding a bumpy road,” Hinds Community College student Christopher Jennings wrote in a letter to the editor last month.

On Friday, Jennings said he travels the highway from his home in Marion Park to Hinds Community College and back and then to St. Francis Xavier Elementary and back daily.

“I’m glad it’s finally being done,” he said, pointing out the potholes on the targeted stretch make “the ride uncomfortable.”

“It should cut down on front-end alignments and tires,” said James Burnett, the president of Mid South Lumber & Supply, a building materials business on U.S. 61 South that operates a fleet of delivery trucks.

Burnett said he’s sure the repairs will save his company some money.

Rhea Fuller, Warren County road manager, agreed the repairs will probably save county taxpayers some on reduced repairs to county trucks. But he defended the Department of Transportation because of challenges.

“They’ve done the best they could, delaying things,” he said of MDOT’s recent efforts to patch some of the worst potholes.

No matter how many times a road is patched, the time comes when a contractor has to be brought in for more extensive work.

Fuller said the problem with the highway can probably be traced to water. When water gets through to the layers under the pavement, it creates a soft spot. When vehicles, particularly heavy ones, repeatedly hit the spot, a soft place soon becomes a hole, which causes the pavement to crack. When the hole is patched, sometimes the patch does not bond well with the rest of the pavement, and more water gets in, beginning the cycle again.

Then, the method of doing the patch work can contribute to the problem, Fuller said. When a jackhammer is used to remove the damaged pavement, it sometimes damages previously unaffected pavement, leading to early failure of the surrounding area as well as the patch.

Hall said Interstate 20 will remain open while American Field Service crews are working, and there will be lane closures to contend with. The contract specifies work is to be finished by August.