Taking shape ‘Trucks going in and out until 2 in the morning’

Published 11:45 am Tuesday, November 22, 2011

After being closed to traffic for nearly three years, the railroad bridge near Washington and Clark streets is taking shape.

“There has been a lot of progress at the bridge site,” said Sharon Lutz, whose two-story home sits across from the construction site. “They’ve got sand trucks going in and out until 2 in the morning, and they start again at 6. There’s a lot of heavy equipment and survey equipment around it.”

The 82-year-old bridge was closed in January 2009 because of unstable, eroding soil. Work began in June 2010 on the $8.6 million project. It was supposed to be complete by June 30, but multiple problems forced Kansas City Southern Railway, which is the contractor for the work, to seek a 90-day extension to Sept. 30.

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The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a third extension in late September, moving the completion date to Feb. 28 for the span that is part of a major north-south thoroughfare in the city.

On Monday, the dirt was piling up and the shape over the giant tunnel — through which east and westbound trains will pass — was becoming evident as Kanza Construction Co. employees continue filling in the sides of the embankment.

“They’re trying to be on schedule and taking advantage of the good weather,” city public works director Garnet Van Norman said. “Kansas City Southern is pushing Kanza to get this done. They’re moving dirt. They’re making progress. The walls are going up as they add the fill (dirt).”

He said workers for the Topeka, Kan., contractor are working two shifts, adding, “they only stop between 3 (a.m.) and 6. They’re trying to get it done.”