MDOT administering construction on U.S. 61

Published 12:04 am Saturday, July 4, 2015

By Leah Schwarting

NATCHEZ — Drivers travelling on U.S. 61 for the July 4 weekend should look out for construction.

Repairs are being made south of Dolorosa between Dennis Loop Road and Sanders Fork Road. The repairs were prompted after one washout and a drainage pipe which separated from a drainage box, creating damage.

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Because of the damage the area was reduced from four to two lanes. Mississippi Department of Transportation Spokesperson Michael Flood, who talked with District Engineer Albert White, wrote in an email the areas will have two lanes until the project is completed.

“On both areas, the existing roadway had to be removed and unearthed so that the repairs could be made,” Flood wrote. “Because of safety concerns and because of the nature of the work, the roadway had to be reduced to two lanes.”

He said MDOT hopes to have the section to the north opened in a couple of months.

The area should be fairly obvious to any drivers.

“We have signs, message boards, cones and barricades directing traffic through this area,” Flood wrote.

While the southern area has been down to two lanes for over a year now, the northern location has only gone down to two lanes after the damage occurred on June 7.

MDOT was alerted to the damage after a hole became visible in the pavement.

“MDOT crews are making the repair,” Flood wrote. “If the weather cooperates, we expect to be finished in a couple of months.”

MDOT crews are working on the most recent damage while the southern area is part of a construction project. It is currently being worked on by Dirt Works, Inc. out of Vicksburg.

Flood did not give an exact cost of the repair damage to the northern area, but he believes it will cost a couple hundred thousand dollars to fix.

While Flood said the new damage has not affected other construction in the road, he said the damage has affected traffic flow through the area on U.S. 61.

Flood said MDOT crews are regularly inspecting and making repairs to make sure other areas do not wash out.

For the time being, Flood asks drivers to exercise reasonable caution at the areas.

“Please drive slow and pay attention to all signs and traffic devices,” Flood wrote. “Also, as always, please put down the cell phones and any other distractions while driving.”