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MDOT Begins $50M Worth of Projects

Mon January 23, 2012 - Southeast Edition
Nicole Dow - THE SUN HERALD



GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) Although down from the magnitude of work it had following Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi Department of Transportation has a handful of projects in progress — about $50 million worth — spread out along the Gulf Coast.

A Beach Boulevard paving project in Waveland should finish by the year’s end, and overpass construction at the U.S. Highway 90 interchange of Mississippi Highway 63 and Mississippi Highway 611 in Jackson County is in early stages. It’s slated to be finished in late 2013.

MDOT officials said traffic-signal projects in Harrison and Pearl River counties should be completed before April. A new bridge being built over Big Creek on Mississippi Highway 198 in George County is more than half finished and should be complete about the same time as the traffic-signal projects.

A slew of new projects are in the planning stages for 2012 and 2013, said Kelly Castleberry, MDOT area engineer.

“We have a full plate,” he said.

Among the projects on the drawing board are Interstate 10 improvements, a new Sangani Boulevard overpass in D’Iberville spanning Interstate 110, intersection reconfigurations at locations throughout the coast, traffic-signal projects and electric message-sign installations on several routes.

Federal funding may dictate the future of some projects, Castleberry said.

“MDOT, as well as every other state DOT in the nation, has been operating under these six-month extensions of the federal highway transportation bill,” he said.

“Usually those transportation bills are six years at a time, and we’re going on our second or third year without a long-term bill. It’s hard for the DOT to say these are the projects we’re going to do because the funding source is not secure.”

Castleberry said the current six-month extension will last through early next year. MDOT will likely take on the same or a slightly lighter workload in 2012 as 2011, unless the funding situation improves, he said.

MDOT area engineers Gabe Faggard and Chuck Starita detailed the ongoing and recently completed projects on the coast:

• Jackson County interchange — MDOT is beginning the $35 million comprehensive highway-reconstruction project at the U.S. 90 interchange of Mississippi 63 and Mississippi 611 in Jackson County, Faggard said.

The project will be done in two phases. The first phase involves intersection and road improvements along Mississippi 63 and Mississippi 611. Tanner Construction Co. was awarded the $21 million bid for that.

Crews are doing foundation work for the 711-ft. (217 m) long overpass bridge that will span U.S. 90 and the CSX railroad, and doing earth work for the approaches to the bridge.

MDOT will solicit bids for the second phase later in 2012. That portion of the project includes expanding Mississippi 611 to five lanes from Old Mobile Highway to the Chevron refinery in Pascagoula. Officials don’t expect the project to be completed until the end of 2013.

• Mississippi 198 bridge, George County — Work is about 70 percent complete on replacing the old bridge over Big Creek along Mississippi Highway 198 in George County, Faggard said. T.L. Wallace Construction Co. of Columbia was awarded the $3.04 million project, and work began in April. Crews are forming the bridge deck, and the next step will be to pour the railings, he said.

The old bridge, built in the 1930s, will be removed as part of the project. Nearly a mi. of road will be reconstructed for the approach to the new bridge. Work should be completed by March.

• Mississippi 67 traffic signals, Harrison County — MDOT is installing a traffic signal at Mississippi 67 and Lickskillet Road in Harrison County, Starita said. Powell Construction Services of Vancleave was awarded the $155,000 project in September. The work is on schedule to be completed in March. The project is in the initial phases of gathering materials and doing preliminary work. There may be intermittent lane closures during the work, but traffic flow should be minimally affected, he said.

• Beach Boulevard reconstruction, Waveland — MDOT expects the Beach Boulevard reconstruction to be complete before the end of December, Starita said. Crews are laying the final phase of asphalt and working on driveways.

This $10.6 million project was separated into two contracts: a $2.3 million phase granted to Sumrall’s Construction, which is finished, and an $8.3 million phase awarded to Lane Construction. Work began in early 2010. Traffic should be less affected as this project nears completion, he said.

• Mississippi 11 traffic signals, Picayune — Traffic signals at five intersections of Mississippi Highway 11 in Picayune will be upgraded, Starita said. The signals, currently hung from cables, will be stabilized on poles and upgraded to withstand 130-mph winds.

The $453,522 project, in the initial phase of gathering materials and doing preliminary work, was awarded to Chain Electric of Hattiesburg in July. Work is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of next year. There may be intermittent lane closures during the work, but traffic flow should be minimally affected.

Other recent projects:

• U.S. Highway 90 resurfacing, Ocean Springs — MDOT recently finished a $4.6 million resurfacing of U.S. 90 in Ocean Springs, Faggard said. The project included improvements to Mississippi 57 between U.S. 90 and the CSX railroad tracks, resurfacing the road and widening it to add a turn lane to accommodate the increase in traffic expected when the new Ocean Springs High School opens.

• Interstate 10 resurfacing, Harrison County — The $16.3 million resurfacing of about 14 mi. (22.5 km) of I-10 in Harrison County from Wolf River to Shore Crest Road was completed in October by Warren Paving Co. of Hattiesburg and Gulfport, Faggard said.

• Interstates 59 and 10 cable barrier — Crowley Co. completed a $3.3 million cable barrier installation in the medians of I-59 and I-10 in Jackson, Harrison, Pearl River, Lamar, Forrest and Jones counties, Faggard said. A four-strand cable barrier system was installed in the medians where median width was less than 60 ft. (18 m) and a concrete barrier wasn’t already in place.

• Infinity access road, Hancock County — The final phase of the Infinity Access Road Project was completed, Starita said. Warren Paving was awarded a $519,273 bid in June to overlay the new access road to the Infinity Science Center in Hancock County.