Flyover construction work delayed six months

Published 12:07 am Thursday, August 9, 2012

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Construction crew workers work under the lights as cars past by them at dusk Wednesday at the flyover. The project was supposed to be completed in the next few weeks, but now will not be completed until February at the earliest.

NATCHEZ — Area residents hoping to see construction of the flyover at the intersection on D’Evereux and Seargent S. Prentiss drives wrap up as scheduled in the next few weeks will have to wait at least another six months.

Construction on the flyover was scheduled to wrap up late this month or September, but MDOT resident engineer and project manager Steve Smith said part of the concrete did not set properly, and scaffolding fell on part of the bridge deck, which has caused the delay.

Smith said the contractor, N.L. Carson of Carthage, has doubled its crew and doubled its work time to repair the deck. Smith said since the concrete did not meet MDOT specifications, N.L. Carson is making the repairs at the company’s expense.

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“It’s not a major problem, those kinds of things happen on construction jobs sometimes,” Smith said. “Since (the work) did not meet our specifications, we would not allow it to stay in place.”

The company is working night shifts until the repairs are made, but Smith said he does not know if the night shifts will continue until the end of the job.

“I hope so, so we can go ahead and get this thing finished,” Smith said.

With school starting back this month and the delay to affect school traffic for longer than expected, Smith suggested parents and students whose school commutes involve the flyover construction leave a few minutes earlier in the mornings.

Smith said MDOT is currently working with the contractor to set a realistic completion date, and he said the flyover could be completed in February at the very earliest.

One of the major objectives of the $19.7 million flyover, Smith said, is to direct 18-wheeler truck traffic over the intersection instead truck drivers making a left turn at it. He said the flyover should shorten delay times at the intersection.