Going to McComb? Homochitto River bridge replacement will require drivers seek alternate route for more than 2 years

Published 11:28 am Friday, November 3, 2023

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Starting Monday, Mississippi drivers on US 98 may have to find another route as crews begin work on a two-and-a-half-year bridge replacement project.

US 98 will be closed to traffic from Berrytown Rd. to State Route 556 in Franklin County as work crews begin working on the replacement for the bridge spanning the Homochitto River just outside of Bude, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Drivers traveling between Bude and McComb in Southwest Mississippi will be asked to follow detour signage for alternate routes. From Bude, motorists can take US 84 eastbound to Brookhaven and then take Interstate 55 southbound to McComb (or vice-versa from McComb).

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Crews will begin work on the bridge project from Nov. 6, 2023, until at least July 15, 2026.

Motorists are reminded to be on high alert for roadside workers.

In July, Mississippi officials announced that the steel truss bridge built in 1951 was up for sale. Federal regulations required that the bridge be replaced due to its historic status.

The Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987 states “prior to the demolition of a historic bridge, the State shall market (sell or donate) the bridge to a State or local government, agency or responsible private entity.”

The bridge is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

As a result, MDOT offered the bridge to any government, agency, or organization that was willing to accept title for, preserve the historical integrity of, and assume the financial and legal responsibility for the continued maintenance of the structure.

New owners were required to preserve and maintain the structure and its historically significant architectural elements in accordance with the U.S. Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

No information about whether anyone offered to buy the bridge is available.

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