Highway 80 repairs could still be months away

Published 5:25 pm Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Officials with the Mississippi Department of Transportation are continuing their assessment of the problems affecting a section of U.S. 80 that was closed Feb. 11 after collapsing.

The 1700 block of Highway 80 between the cement plant and Mount Alban Road was blocked after problems with the road caused by runoff from heavy rains. The runoff eroded the highway’s shoulder and caused the roadway to fail, making it unsafe to travel.

“Our maintenance forces are still exploring options for getting a design together for the rebuild,” MDOT spokesman Mike Flood said. One big decision will be whether to acquire more right of way for the repair or fix it in the confines of what we currently have.

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“Either way, we’re still looking at several months before it gets repaired,” he said. “If we have to get more right of way, it could be further than that.”

Whatever decision is made, Flood said, the unstable soil under the road will have to be removed and replaced with stabilized material.

“We’ll have to rebuild that embankment with less steep slopes because all the slopes there are pretty steep,” he said. “Buying more right of way would allow us to fix more slope in the long run.”

U.S. 80 is a major thoroughfare in Warren County. And has been affected by similar problems in the past.

In 2016, erosion caused by two days of heavy rains forced MDOT officials to shut down both lanes of a section of U.S. 80 at Thornhill Road to repair a washout that removed dirt from under the highway’s westbound lane.

The highway is one of many roads the county closed because of erosion problems. County officials learned Monday a total of 72 county roads have been affected in some way by the heavy rains that have hit the area over the past six weeks.

County roads presently closed include Redwood Road between the 1515 and 1950 block, Freetown Road at 2944 block, Ziegler Road, Laney Camp Road, Warriors Trail at the Big Black, Summer Seat Road and Chickasaw Road.

Long Lake Road, West Deer Creek, East Deer Creek, Thompson Lake Road, Canal Road, Old Twin Lake Road, Boy Scout Road — gravel side north end, Ms. 465 from U.S 61 North to the Eagle Lake Gin, Union Avenue and Field Road.

Freetown Road is closed because a bridge is being replaced. The problem is not weather-related.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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