Buzzer Sounds on Mississippi’s Jourdan River Bridge Job

Mon March 28, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Maybelle G. Cagle

After four years of construction, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has opened a new bridge to traffic over the Jourdan River near Diamondhead on the Gulf Coast.

The $47-million project was completed by L&A Contracting Company of Hattiesburg, MS. Neel-Schaffer of Jackson, MS, was the design engineering firm for the project.

According to MDOT, approximately 45,000 cars travel this stretch of road daily. The project was completed in late January and the final inspection was done Feb. 2, signifying all work had been completed.

“There were three phases of construction. Phase one consisted of the largest portion of the new bridge and then removal of the original east bound bridge. Phase two was constructed and then the west bound bridge was removed. Phase three was then constructed to complete the new bridge,” said David Seyfarth, an MDOT engineer, who worked on the project.

Seyfarth said one new six-lane bridge replaced two existing bridges.

“This allowed MDOT to maintain traffic flow in two lanes in both directions,” he said.

The project provided for construction of an additional lane eastbound and westbound on I-10 between Highway 43/603 and Diamondhead.

It was part of a major undertaking that the state began in 1996 to widen I-10 to six lanes across the state.

Eighty-percent of the project was federally funded. MDOT provided the remaining 20 percent.

The project was finished several months behind the revised completion date was of August 2004.

“After speaking with the MDOT crew, I could not determine one particular reason why the project was delayed,” said Amy Land, a spokesperson for MDOT.

She added, “We have many projects that tend to run behind schedule due to circumstances beyond our control. When we work with contractors and have to fight traffic and weather, a lot of factors play into the completion dates.

“Our personnel work diligently to assure that the contractors get the job done in a safe and effective manner — that is our primary concern.”

According to Seyfarth, some gates were added to the project.

“The gates are typical flat panel 12-foot gates [two at each location]. The gates are necessary for mowing access around the bridge abutments and cost less than $2,000,” he said. CEG