Closure of westbound Mississippi River Bridge expected to begin Tuesday

Published 11:34 pm Monday, July 10, 2017

By Cain Madden

NATCHEZ — The westbound Mississippi River bridge heading from Natchez into Vidalia is expected to be completely closed to traffic starting today and may remain closed for up to a year as repairs are made.Mississippi Department of Transportation Spokesman Michael Flood said during the closure traffic would be funneled to the eastbound bridge in head-to-head configuration.

Blastech Enterprises has been awarded the $26,774,759.50 contract to make upgrades to the bridge. While replacing six key pin and links — structural components that allow the bridge to flex — crews will also sandblast and paint the bridge.

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The contract runs until spring 2019, but the westbound bridge can only have both lanes shut down for a maximum of 365 days, Flood said.

Flood said the contractor would face a penalty of $10,000 per day should the bridge be shut down to traffic beyond 365 days.

During 2015, MDOT performed similar work and replaced two pin and link combinations while inspecting the remaining six. Blastech will replace the remaining six pin and link combinations.

Single lane closures began in early June.