MDOT: New pavement project on U.S. 61 wrapping up in May

Published 11:06 am Thursday, April 6, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Just a few needed materials to finish the road shoulders and bridge guard rails along U.S. 61 through Natchez and the recently resurfaced road will be complete, said Ken Morris, Mississippi Department of Transportation District Construction Engineer.

“The completion date is in May and they should be done before they are required to be, in another month,” Morris said.

For the past year, MDOT has been working to refresh a long stretch of the busy highway.

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The permanent striping and reflectors will be the last part of the project after the shoulders of the road are finished, Morris said.

“There are multiple things being done, and the pavement is 99 percent complete with just a little left along the shoulders,” he said. “A fog seal was placed on the existing asphalt shoulder and we’re going to put some liquid asphalt on the shoulder. The guard rail we’re replacing is almost complete. They had to wait on some more material and are also waiting for parts for traffic signal work.”

Unusual little white circles painted on the new asphalt are temporary to mark imperfections in the asphalt that will be filled in before the project is done, Morris said.

“There was a problem with some of the asphalt and the contractors had to go back and put some material back in the holes,” he explained.

Through the remainder of the project, lane closers along bridge areas should be expected, Morris said.

“They will be replacing joints in bridges between the concrete slabs on 16 bridges in Natchez and the surrounding area,” he said.

Near Roux 61 restaurant, MDOT is two-thirds of the way finished with fixing three washout areas that were dangerously close to the new road. That alone was a $3 million repair job that included manholes, drainage areas and dirt work so that it wouldn’t wash out again, Morris said.

MDOT has decided not to replace a traffic signal that was accidentally knocked over by contractors with APAC MS Inc. in August 2022 near Pedro’s restaurant on U.S. 61 North, Morris said.

MDOT contractors had been working nights to pave U.S. 61 in the area of the overpass by Natchez Walmart, where one of the contractors accidentally backed a dump truck into the traffic signal pole.

A traffic study was done to determine whether or not the MDOT-owned signal needed to be replaced.