Government Fleet Road project takes shape

Published 12:04 am Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rod Guajardo / The Natchez Democrat — Construction workers continue to work on the Government Fleet Road extension project, which is intended to cut off approximately 6 miles of round trip road travel to the Natchez-Adams County Port. At top, Robert Denis operates an excavator to level and straighten the area around the bridge.

NATCHEZ — The Government Fleet Road extension project has reached approximately 40 percent completion and is on schedule to be finished sometime in July, Adams County Engineer Jim Marlow said.

The road work, which was seven years in the making, is intended to cut off approximately six miles of round trip road travel to the Natchez-Adams County Port. Most of the dirt work on the $3.6 million project has been completed, Marlow said.

In coming weeks, the 190-foot bridge portion of the project will come more visibly together. Adams County Supervisors’ President Darryl Grennell said when it is completed the bridge will be of some interest to engineers.

That’s because the bridge has to be constructed on a curve and with an 8 percent grade, Marlow said.

“That’s a pretty steep grade,” he said.

The curve the bridge has to be built on is due in part to how close it would be to rail lines, and Marlow said that means the width of the bridge spans have to be spaced out asymmetrically.

“All the components in there are of a different dimension,” he said. “Whereas with a lot of bridges you are used to dealing with, there are things that are symmetrical in them — there is nothing that is the same thing in the layout of this (bridge).”

“It is a one-of-a-kind for us in Adams County.”

Rod Guajardo / The Natchez Democrat

The beams to the bridge will go in fairly quickly because they will be made pre-fitted off site, Marlow said.

The numerous cuts into the bluffs surrounding the road, which have the appearance of giant steps, had to be done to ensure stability when crews started cutting 60 feet into the ground to make the road at a drivable grade.

“It was such a big cut going through that bluff to get that grade down like that,” Marlow said. “You could not have that thing vertical, so the benching (in the bluff) is to have this stable.”

The county engineer said the road’s asphalt surface should be built in June.