• Project updates in Northwest Mississippi

    An aerial view of Interstate 269 in DeSoto County looking east.

    Interstate 269 in DeSoto and Marshall counties

    Construction continues on the state’s largest active highway construction project. The first two phases are complete and open to traffic from the Tennessee state line in Marshall County to State Route 305 in DeSoto County. The final nine-mile section will connect Interstate 55 and State Route 305.

    “When the final stretch is complete, we will have full connectivity between I-55 in Mississippi and I-40 in Tennessee,” said Commissioner Mike Tagert, Northern Transportation District. “It will drive new growth opportunities for DeSoto County and north Mississippi.”

    Heavy rainfall and cold weather in late 2017 have caused delays; however, the final phase of the project is scheduled for completion in fall 2018.

    Interstate 55 bridge replacement in Tate County

    A project to replace two overpasses at Exit 271 near Coldwater has begun. Crews have performed earthwork to construct temporary detour lanes through the median where a temporary detour bridge will be built between the existing bridges. During the project, traffic will be rerouted onto the detour bridge while the existing bridges are replaced one at a time. When the project is complete, the temporary detour bridge will be removed.

    The existing bridges were built in 1959, and the bridge decks had deteriorated to a point where replacement was the only solution. The $9 million project will install a pair of bridges on the site with a life expectancy of 75 to 100 years. The project is estimated to be completed in late 2020.

    State Route 32 bridge replacements in Tallahatchie County

    Work continues on three separate projects to replace multiple timber pile bridges along State Route 32 between State Route 35 and the Tallahatchie River.

    “The 12 bridges on State Route 32 that will be replaced have been repaired multiple times and are posted at 15 tons or less,” Tagert said. “These are steel beam bridges with timber pilings that were built in the late 1940s and have outlived their serviceable lives.”

    Near the town of Charleston, the first project replacing two bridges has been completed and opened to traffic since August 2017.

    A second project one mile west will replace six bridges and move traffic to a new alignment on State Route 32. The project began in February 2018. Earthwork is underway for the new alignment, and piles have been driven at all the bridge sites. One bridge is complete through the road deck, and another has caps installed on the piles. The other four bridges are in the early stages of construction.

    One bridge will be replaced with a box culvert as part of the project. Six existing timber box culverts will be replaced with modern concrete structures. The bridge and culvert work is expected to be completed in early spring 2019.

    A third project on State Route 32 replaces three other bridges and constructs a new railroad bridge. The project is taking place on a new alignment north of the existing roadway. Two bridges have been built, and the third will be completed when guardrails are installed. The railroad bridge rises 30 feet above the busy Illinois Central Line which carries a high volume of freight traffic. The 335-foot-long bridge is over 50 percent complete with beams set across the main span. The third project is expected to open to traffic in late summer.

    In the future, a fourth project to replace the Tallahatchie River Bridge will be advertised for bids.

    “Most of the work is taking place off the existing roadway to minimize impacts to traffic and to keep workers safe,” Tagert said. “However, motorists should use caution in the work zones and expect delays. Construction equipment and dump trucks will be entering and exiting the work zones throughout the project.”

    Pavement preservation projects

    Several pavement preservation projects are underway throughout Northwest Mississippi.

    “Mississippi’s roads are deteriorating at rates faster than our crews can repair them, and this trend will continue unless a stable funding solution is found,” Tagert said. “However, pavement preservation projects will improve safety, extend the life of the road surface and postpone costly, full-scale reconstructions.”

    –         An $880,000 project on U.S. Highway 49 in Tallahatchie County to overlay highway from U.S. Highway 49 West to the Coahoma County line is nearing completion.

    –         A $4.4 million project on U.S. Highway 49 in Coahoma County will overlay highway from Clarksdale to the Tallahatchie County line. The project is slated for completion in mid-summer.

    –         A $9.6 million project will overlay U.S. Highway 72 in Benton County from the Marshall County line to the Tippah County line. The project is scheduled for completion in late summer.

    –         A $2.3 million project will overlay State Route 4 in Tate County from State Route 305 to the Marshall County line. The project was awarded in late April, and a construction schedule has not been set.

    MDOT has advertised for bids for three other pavement preservation projects on State Route 7 in Leflore County, U.S. Highway 51 in Panola County and State Route 178 in DeSoto County.

    Work zones present new traffic patterns and configurations that may be unfamiliar to motorists. For information about how to navigate highway work zones safely, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.

    For more information about these or other MDOT maintenance and construction projects, visit MDOTtraffic.com, call Mississippi 511, download the free MDOT Traffic app or like and follow @MississippiDOT on Facebook and Twitter.



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