Repaving, sprucing due on U.S. 61 North|[02/27/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 27, 2008

About nine miles of U.S. 61 North will be spruced up beginning in April as part of a $6 million resurfacing project.

Lanes on the heavily traveled road and truck route will be overlaid and re-striped from interchanges at Interstate 20 to Redwood. Visibility-improving reflectors are also in the plans laid out by state engineers.

“It needed to be done,” Mississippi Department of Transportation Central District Commissioner Dick Hall said, adding some road shoulders will be widened along the way.

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A construction bid award is expected March 11, Hall said. Jackson-based APAC-Mississippi was the low bidder among offers taken Tuesday, with a $5.5 million bid. Federal money will pay for the entire cost of the project, Hall said.

No daytime lane closures or detours are expected during the work, District 3 Engineer Kevin Magee said, adding the work will wrap up in mid-October if weather conditions permit. Magee said it will be determined later whether work will start on the northbound or southbound lane.

Pockets of businesses and other buildings along the stretch such as the county road equipment barn may be affected by the timing of the work.

“It might affect our vehicles entering from the southbound side,” Warren County Road Department Manager Richard Winans said.

MDOT has planned to begin the resurfacing at nearly the same time as the surface along U.S. 61 South is replaced altogether.

A $1.2 million project to lay a new surface for failed highway lanes is expected to begin in March. A half-mile section of roadway has been closed since April 2005 after heavy rains sped up soil sliding, causing the road to slough. A $5 million effort to stabilize the supporting hillside ensued.

Four-laning U.S. 61 throughout Mississippi is an ongoing effort stemming from the Vision 21 plan passed by the Legislature in 2002. Included in it is the replacement of the Yazoo River bridge at Redwood, set for completion in 2009.