Detour bridge expected to be completed in weeks

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 12, 2002

Joe Pettway of Vicksburg, a superintendent with Fordice Construction’s bridge and heavy construction division, stands on a temporary bridge under construction next to the bridge over Hatcher Bayou on Halls Ferry Road Thursday.(The Vicksburg Post/C. Todd Sherman)

[07/12/02]A detour bridge on Halls Ferry Road will be ready for traffic in about two weeks so reconstruction can begin on the main bridge, a Warren County official said.

Residents said they won’t be sad to see the old span go.

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“I saw a guy lose his life on that bridge in 1993,” said Ronald Roach, 26. “You have to wait for 18-wheelers and dump trucks to pass before you can cross.”

The 188-foot-long bridge, long a bottleneck between Vicksburg and residential areas southeast of the city will be brought up to Mississippi Department of Transportation standards, said county engineer John McKee Jr.

Problems with the present bridge include narrow lanes, stability of the structure, type of railing and weight capacity, he said.

Roach, who lives at 4614 Halls Ferry, said he has traveled across the bridge for most of his life and that it should have been repaired at least 10 years ago. He said the way the bridge curves has caused accidents in the past.

Jimmie Taylor said people drive recklessly across the narrow bridge.

“They don’t care if you have enough room or not,” Taylor said.

The project has been planned for many years by county officials. At one time, there was not going to be a temporary bridge and hundreds of people would have faced miles-long detours. Adding the detour bridge as a convenience delayed getting the whole project designed, funded and under way.

District 5 Supervisor Richard George said MDOT guidelines say a bridge is unacceptable if its efficiency rating is less than 50, and the rating for the Halls Ferry Road bridge is 5.

Accidents have occurred on the bridge because of a combination of factors, George said.

“When you complicate the matter with speed or bad weather the width (of the bridge) certainly becomes a problem,” George said.

Fordice Construction Company began work on the bridge June 10 and has 180 working days to complete the $654,743 project. Funding for the project came from State Aid money, allocated to the county every four years for road and bridge maintenance.