Temporary fix for bridge could cost $100,000|[6/02/05]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 2, 2005

Temporary erosion control and repairs under the U.S. 80 Mississippi River Bridge could cost nearly $100,000.

The Vicksburg Bridge Commission received only one bid Wednesday for the work to stabilize some of the dirt under the 75-year-old span that is threatening its supports. The single bid for $99,775 from Riverside Construction will be reviewed by the project engineers who hope to bring back a recommendation next week.

ABMB engineer Lynn Wolfe said the work will include repairs to some drainage and bringing in dirt to fill in holes, but won’t diminish the importance of the larger $6 million project to repair the erosion under the bridge and at Navy Circle.

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For that work, the commission held a meeting of all interested parties earlier in the week and is planning to lobby Congress for funding.

Wolfe said the work will take about three months because of the nature of the project.

“It’s a real complicated little job because we have to be careful about what we put on that slope,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe said some of the work will also have to be done by hand.

Over the past 60 years, engineers have recorded 20 feet of movement at Navy Circle just north of the bridge and, most recently, they have noted large slides after heavy rains. Sliding dirt has also covered pier footings that were designed to be above ground.

Movement has also been recorded in the piers that support the span’s main superstructure, but engineers say the two problems are separate and they are looking at separate solutions for both.

The county-owned bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic since 1998. Funding for maintenance to the bridge, including the current project, comes from funds generated by per-car tolls charged to the railroad crossing the river here and lease agreements for utility lines attached to the structure.

The commission will meet again at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Warren County Courthouse.