Yazoo River bridge work passes concrete milestone|[08/22/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Crews erecting a new bridge across the Yazoo River at Redwood haven’t let the scorching heat impede their progress.

Engineers with the Mississippi Department of Transportation overseeing the $32.7 million project said Tuesday that more than half the work is done and everything is on track for it to handle all U.S. 61 traffic by June 2009.

MDOT project manager Jeff Curtis said the work has gone well as support piers can be seen rising from the 254,000 cubic yards of dirt used to form the foundation for approach roads.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

&#8220It’s been 12-hour days,” Curtis said. &#8220Some work has gone 17 hours, depending.”

Beau Graves, concrete superintendent for Madison-based Key Constructors Inc. called his company’s progress &#8220real good” despite the heat.

&#8220It’s real bad when they’re stripping the concrete forms. I didn’t try it, but you could probably fry an egg on it.”

The progress has compared favorably with similar-sized construction projects, Central District Engineer Kevin Magee said.

&#8220You tend to burn time faster than money at the beginning,” Magee said.

Adjustments to the roadway leading to and from the bridge will accompany the bridge’s arrival, which in itself will signal the end of the old bridge when MDOT closes and removes the 57-year-old span.

Though the new bridge will have just two lanes to accommodate northbound and southbound traffic, Curtis said, the lanes will be widened to 12 feet to meet highway standards.

A stretch of U.S. 61 will be straightened leading to the bridge’s southbound lanes. Traffic will flow into the existing roadway on the Yazoo’s south bank.

From deck to deck, the bridge will be 40 feet, 14 feet wider than the current bridge.

The bridge replacement project is part of MDOT’s larger &#8220Vision 21” program, part of which calls for U.S. 61 North to be four-laned, depending on the traffic flow. MDOT officials have said that is likely to be years away, however.