TUPELO, MISS. - The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has projects underway to preserve and maintain highways and bridges in northeast Mississippi, said Commissioner Mike Tagert, Northern Transportation District.
Four-lane expansion on State Route 15 in Pontotoc County
A $21.5 million construction project to expand State Route 15 in Pontotoc County from two lanes to four stretches approximately eight miles from State Route 76 north to the Union County line.
Traffic has been realigned to the newly constructed lanes from the Union County line south to State Route 346. The intersection of State Route 346 has also be realigned.
Two-lane traffic will use the new lanes while crews continue to reconstruct the existing highway and Tanglefoot Trail Bridge. The bridge, which was built in 1971 over a railroad, is currently under construction and complete through the bridge deck. Installing guardrails and paving the approaches remain to be completed.
On the south end of the project, grading work continues on the new lanes. The Lappatubby Creek Bridge, which was constructed in 1955, will also be replaced.
The project was awarded to Talbot Brothers, of Nesbit, in April. It is estimated to be completed in summer 2020.
Bridge maintenance on State Route 145 in Prentiss County
Work continues on a project to replace six bridges and a box culvert along State Route 145 in Prentiss County. The existing timber pile bridges and culvert were built in the 1940s. MDOT engineers placed weight restrictions on each of the bridges. The project covers four separate sites.
Site 1 included three bridges over Twenty Mile Creek, Wolf Creek and the Wolf Creek Tributary. The three bridges are now open to the traveling public. Remaining work includes the final lift of asphalt and additional grading.
Site 2 includes one bridge replacement over Osborne Creek and one box culvert extension. The box culvert has been constructed, and crews are currently working near Osborne Creek. County Road 7090 will be realigned as part of the project and is currenly closed. A signed detour is in place.
Site 3, north of State Route 4, rebuilt one bridge over King's Creek. Site 4, north of Thrasher Road, replaced one bridge with a new box culvert. Sites 3 and Site 4 completed construction in July.
MDOT anticipates the entire project to be complete by summer 2020.
“These bridges have been identified for replacement on MDOT’s bridge list and this work will benefit public safety,” Tagert said. “These projects will increase safety and mobility throughout the region.”
The $12.5 million project was awarded to Talbot Brothers.
Bridge replacement projects in Chickasaw, Lowndes counties
Elsewhere in the district, two other bridge replacement projects are underway.
In Chickasaw County, there is a $4.2 million project to replace bridges over Chewawah Creek and Cane Creek on State Route 389. The contractor is Ausbern Construction Company, Inc., and the work is expected to be completed in summer 2020.
In Lowndes County, A $2.3 million project to replace the Vernon Branch Bridge on State Route 182 is nearing completion. The contractor is Tanner Construction Company, Inc., and the work is expected to be completed this fall.
J-turns on U.S. Highway 278 in Pontotoc County
A $5.2 million project to install J-turns at two intersections on U.S. Highway 278 in Pontotoc County is slated to begin soon.
The safety improvements will be built at the intersection of Rocky Ford Road and the intersection of State Route 345, also known as Cherry Creek Road.
J-turns, or restricted crossing U-turns, are safer alternatives to typical intersections along busy multi-lane highways. J-Turns can dramatically reduce crashes related to crossing and turning left at multi-lane highway intersections.
“MDOT has installed numerous J-turns across the state,” Tagert said. “Several have been in service long enough to produce before and after crash data that shows an overall crash reduction of 74 to 92 percent.”
To navigate a J-turn, motorists who want to cross or turn left on U.S. Highway 278 must first turn right onto the highway and then merge to a left turn lane. After completing a U-turn, motorists travel back to the intersection and either continue straight or turn right to exit the highway.
“Safety is MDOT’s top priority,” Tagert said. “J-turns significantly reduce the number of fatal and serious injury crashes by lowering the possibility of T-bone crashes.”
The project is being performed by Talbot Brothers and is expected to be completed in summer 2020.
U.S. Highway 82 interchage improvements in Lowndes County
The $4.8 million project to improve U.S. Highway 82 interchanges at 18th Avenue and Military Road continues in Columbus.
Crews are nearing completion of the first phases of work at 18th Avenue where interchange ramps are being realigned and widened.
The next phase of the project consists of a new signal at the eastbound U.S. Highway 82 exit ramp and upgrades to the existing signal at the westbound exit ramp. Work on the signals is expected to begin in November.
Once the signals are installed, interchange pavement will be will be milled and overlaid.
Earthwork has begun at the Military Road Interchange where two new roundabouts will be constructed. In preparation for the roundabouts, the interchange ramps will be realigned. The westbound exit ramp will also be widened to include a new travel lane.
The interchange project was awarded to Gregory Construction Services, Inc., of Columbus, and is expected to be completed in spring 2020.
Construction zones present new traffic patterns and configurations that can cause confusion for some motorists. For information about how to navigate highway work zones safely, visit GoMDOT.com/drivesmartms.
“Workers may be present on these maintenance and construction projects,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT executive director. “MDOT encourages drivers to slow down in work zones so our crew members can make it home safe to their families.”
For more information on MDOT maintenance and construction projects, visit MDOTtraffic.com, download the free MDOT Traffic app or like and follow @MississippiDOT on Facebook and Twitter.