Washington Street bridge detour road near completion

Published 12:30 am Sunday, November 7, 2010

Phase one of two for a city road project that is part of the 12-month Washington Street bridge project is expected be complete and open for traffic in less than two weeks, while construction of the replacement bridge is on track to be completed by spring’s end, Vicksburg Public Works Director Bubby Rainer said.

“Everything is on schedule today,” Rainer said. “It’ll be another month and a half before that (entire) road is complete.”

Rain through much of the last week did not delay the construction of the service road and replacement bridge, which will feature a roadway-topped rail tunnel, Rainer said.

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

He said phase one of the city road project was to complete paving the section between DiamondJacks Casino entrance at Washington Street and the area near the entrance of Ergon, which is near the foot of the hill where Lee Street begins.

Traffic for the casino will be moved from the casino’s steep driveway onto the new road once that section is finished.

In October 2009, casino officials closed a gravel access road between the casino and Lee Street that had become a detour for drivers avoiding the city-routed detour, which runs east around the bridge via Lee Street, Army-Navy Drive and North Frontage Road.

Phase two of the road project will follow immediately from the area near Ergon’s entrance to Lee Street, where the road will connect with Washington Street.

Construction on that section is expected to take up to six weeks before opening.

Completion of both phases will allow for a shorter detour route than the one in place since the January 2009 closing of the bridge that serves as a north-south corridor connecting downtown and Interstate 20.

Once the new detour opens, Rainer said, drivers need to be reminded of the possible delays due to a daily schedule of trains that will run through the road.

Crews of Kanzaa Construction of Tokepa, Kan., which was contracted last summer for $8.6 million, has been working since June to complete preliminary groundwork. The 200-foot-high bridge above the Kansas City Southern Railway tracks was finally brought down in mid-August after a year and a half of funding delays.

Meanwhile, Kanzaa is preparing to begin putting up parts of the tunnel in a couple of weeks, said Rainer, who added that the bridge could open as early as April.

“I’m ready to see it,” he said.