Most trucks detouring off Washington

Published 11:32 am Thursday, March 15, 2012

Most overweight trucks have stopped rolling across a buckled stretch of Washington Street, but no timeline has been set for repair of the roadway.

A public announcements of police presence along the truck detour reduced the number of trucks traveling over the damaged street, but no citations have been reported, said police Lt. Jackie Johnson, head of the department’s traffic division.

“I guess they know that we don’t have a problem writing citations,” Johnson said. “They did listen and I’m glad.”

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An unloaded tractor-trailer rig pulled through the barricaded portion of the street Wednesday and was stopped but not cited because the trailer was empty, Johnson said.

“He was light, but we still sent him around the truck route,” Johnson said.

The City of Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen met to declare a state of emergency Feb. 29 to order all vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds to be rerouted after city workers repairing a water leak discovered the road had buckled near the Washington Street bridge that sits atop a tunnel for Kansas City Southern Railway freight trains traveling east and west across the Old Mississippi River Bridge.

At the same meeting, the board hired IMS Engineers of Jackson to repair the bridge. The engineering firm has yet to establish a time frame for repair, interim public works director Garnet Van Norman said.

“They’re going to have to do some more studying of what’s going on before we hear anything,” Van Norman said.

The Washington Street near Clark Street bridge had been reopened Feb. 13 after being closed and all traffic rerouted for three years. The reason the bridge was closed during that time period is because of heavy trucks ignoring warnings, Van Norman said. Until last week, heavy traffic continued to roll across the damaged portion of the street despite clearly marked detours and barricades

“I would just hope they would abide by what we asked them to do,” Van Norman said.

The current ban on heavy vehicles includes all tractor-trailer rigs, log trucks, school buses and large emergency vehicles. Heavy traffic is rerouted along U.S. 61 North to the interstate.