Thursday, May 21, 2009
Hwy. 4 work forces detour
By SUE WATSON
Highway 4 West is closed 12 miles west of its intersection with Highway 7 South while the Mississippi Department of Transportation replaces two culverts, according to Bill Minor, transportation commissioner for the Northern District.
The replacements are mandated by federal regulations that would withhold federal funds until the culverts and bridges on state roads meet federal standards, he said.
The mandate came from the federal highway commission after a bridge collapsed in Minnesota about a year ago.
Minor said the culverts had weight limits of 10,000 pounds and, once replaced, will meet the weight limits of the highway which is 57,000 pounds.
Traffic to Senatobia is being detoured to Highway 310 where it meets I-55 at Como.
The deepest culvert that is to be replaced is just west of the intersection at Chulahoma Road and Highway 4 West. The other culvert is located just east of the Highway 305 intersection going to Independence.
Minor said because the culvert near Chulahoma is deep, it will take longer to get it replaced. The date Highway 4 West is expected to reopen is June 28 or 29, he said.
With these two culverts replaced, the Mississippi Department of Transportation can go forward with plans to upgrade Highway 4 West to bring the road to 85,000-pound weight limits eventually, Minor said. Several more inches of asphalt will be needed to bring the road up to maximum state weight limits of 85,000 pounds and the shoulders have to be extended in some areas. Minor said it will cost about $65 million to upgrade two-lane Highway 4 West to Senatobia, according to a recent MDOT estimate.
The upgrading of the road is important for local farmers and dairymen who must haul heavy loads to market and heavy loads in to their farm supply stores, as well as to make the highway safe for school buses and other vehicles, Minor said.
“We had some dairy farmers who couldn’t haul feed on portions of Highway 4,” he said.
MDOT is expected to give the nod either this month or next month to let bids for the overlay of the North Holly Springs Bypass Road, Minor said. Federal stimulus package regulations gave the State 120 days (four months) to finish the work, he said. The bypass overlay should be completed this summer.
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