Bridge slated to close for repairs in spring

Published 12:12 am Saturday, December 20, 2014

NATCHEZ — Drivers crossing the Mississippi River this spring will face several weeks of head-to-head traffic on the U.S. 84 bridge.

Mississippi Department of Transportation Spokesman Michael Flood said Friday the westbound span of the bridge will be closed for several weeks while MDOT replaces a number of pins and links in the span.

“Although this is a unique project and the repairs are not routine, they are part of the maintenance of the bridge,” Flood said.

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The traveling public will start seeing some lane closures early next year because temporary connections to the eastbound lanes will have to be built before the westbound span of the bridge is closed, he said.

Some lane closures may also be necessary as the contractor does preliminary work to reduce the amount of time the bridge will be closed, Flood said.

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said the cities of Natchez and Vidalia will work in conjunction with MDOT to ensure traffic continues to move through the area in a safe manner.

Bridge traffic usually moves approximately 15 mph over the speed limit, but when lanes are closed people tend to slow down, Brown said.

“What typically happens when the bridge traffic slows down is it slows down to what the bridge speed limits are anyway,” he said. “People don’t realize they are now obeying the speed limit. It is all about people’s attitude and perception when they get behind the wheel.”

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said the city has been in contact with MDOT and will work to help ease the transition.