August 23, 2012
bridge ‘structurally deficient’
While it’s often the subject of a photographer’s camera, the odd-looking truss bridge on Highway 7 that crosses the Tallahatchie River will soon be replaced with a less interesting-looking – albeit more functional – safer bridge.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation expects to be able to open bids in January 2013 from contractors vying to win the job of replacing the Parker through-truss bridge that was built in 1953.
MDOT District 2 Supervisor Mitch Turner said the job is estimated to cost about $12 million, but final figures won’t be known until after the bids have been opened.
“We will know more on cost and how long it will take to build after the January bid letting,” Turner said. “But it will be a big structure. It will take some time to build.”
As per state law, MDOT will accept the lowest and best bid.
Funding for the new bridge will be 80 percent from federal funds and 20 percent from MDOT.
The land where the old bridge was built is actually owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has granted MDOT permission to replace the bridge.
The bridge is considered to be “structurally deficient,” Turner said.
“It’s got a lot of problems. Underneath the bridge, the steel constraints have a lot of rust. And there’s a height restriction.”
Turner said the cost of keeping up the warning system to alert trucks taller than 13 feet, 9 inches high not to attempt to drive over the bridge is expensive.
The lack of shoulder room on the current bridge was another reason to replace it, Turner said.
“The narrowness of the bridge makes it functionally obsolete,” he said. “It doesn’t have a wide, safe shoulder like you see on more modern bridges.”
The replacement bridge will be a concrete span bridge with shoulders on both sides of the road. It will be built on the west side of the current bridge. The old train bridge is not being taken down.
“We don’t own that,” Turner said.
Traffic will be re-routed onto the new bridge once it’s complete and then the current bridge will be torn down.
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