Preliminary work begins for bridge replacement
By SUE WATSON
Photo by Sue Watson
Gerald Jones surveys utility service lines at the Salem Avenue bridge in Holly Springs.
with the local office of the Mississippi Department of Transportation
have been busy several weeks surveying in advance of the replacement of
the Salem Avenue railroad overpass.
Brian Childs, project
engineer with the Holly Springs office of MDOT, said the bridge is
getting to the end of its lifespan. The bridge will be replaced with a
new one and brought up to contemporary MDOT and USDOT standards, he
Crews have been conducting topographical surveys of
driveways, curbs and gutters for local roads to be presented to the
design team for the next step in the process, he said. The field survey
will be concluded in several weeks, Childs said.
Photo by Sue Watson
MDOT workers from the office in Holly Springs are pictured during the field surveying on Salem.
Annis Holbrook, 83, has lived on Salem next to the bridge since 1959,
not too long after the wooden bridge had been replaced in the late
’40s. She said there were some tales about the old wooden bridge, which
was barely wide enough for two cars to pass. The road was gravel on the
east side of the bridge where Highway 4 East took over.
“When James and I came in 1946, we walked across it,” she said.
East of the bridge on Highway 4, the Tomlinsons had a store on the north side of the road.
two years ago a man was squatting out there in my front yard,” she
said. “He was looking for a marker. Sunday (recently) I asked Lois
(Shipp), ‘Did you know they are going to replace the Old Salem Bridge?’
From there the news founds its way into Shipp’s ‘Museuming’ column in The South Reporter.
Q.&A. with Mike Tagert
Tagert, transportation commissioner for the northern district, provided
the following answers to some questions about the Salem Bridge project.
- Q. Is this a federal or a federal/state project?
- A. MDOT anticipates using Federal-Aid bridge replacement funds to complete this project.
- Q. Why is the bridge being replaced? Does it need to be higher to meet new standards for the railroad?
The bridge is nearing the end of its useful design life. It is
anticipated that the bridge will be raised by several feet to meet the
new standards for vertical clearance over a railroad.
- Q. Do you know how traffic will be routed once work begins?
Various detour routes are being considered at this time. MDOT will work
closely with all emergency personnel when selecting the detour route to
ensure uninterrupted access to the hospital and other facilities.
- Q. Who is doing the present survey work and what are they doing?
The Holly Springs Project Office and the District GPS crew are
completing the survey work. This preliminary survey is performed to
collect information such as existing topography, including utilities,
driveways, curbs, lane widths, present roadway elevations, etc., which
will be used during the design phase of the contract.
- Q. Is the current work a study or part of a designed project?
- A. The work is part of a project that will be designed as soon as the preliminary survey work is completed.
- Q. How long will it take to finish the demolition/reconstruction once it is started?
The time of construction will be estimated most accurately once the
design is completed. A typical bridge replacement projects lasts for
approximately one year. Each project does vary in the actual amount of
time of construction due to the specific nature of that project.
- Q. Will the construction interfere with railway traffic at any time?
The MDOT will coordinate all work with the railroad. It is possible
that there may be brief interruptions in railway traffic during
specific construction milestones, such as removing the existing bridge,
setting beams on the new bridge, etc. Again, any interruptions will be
very closely coordinated with the railroad.
- Q. Anything else you find that would be of interest to our readers would be welcomed.
This bridge was built in 1950. However, it is not eligible for
placement on the National Registry of Historic Places. Once the
preliminary survey is complete, the project will move into the
environmental stage which will evaluate the impacts of construction on
the surrounding environment. From that point, the preliminary
right-of-way will be determined and the final design work will begin. A
typical project can take four to seven years from the beginning of
preliminary survey to the first day of construction, depending on the
complexity of the project.