Aldermen OK moving forward with analysis, cost estimate for repairing Canal Street Bridge

Published 5:13 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

NATCHEZ — On Thursday at a special meeting, the city’s aldermen gave approval to moving forward with the preparation of a proposal on what it will take to make repairs to the Canal Street bridge to allow it to be open to all traffic.

On Dec. 22, the city unexpectedly received notice that an inspection found cause for concern on the bridges stability. Because of that, the city has closed the bridge to travel by any vehicle weighing more than 5 tons.

“We received notice there could be some safety concerns with the Canal Street Bridge over the Natchez Southern Railroad,” Mayor Dan Gibson told aldermen on Thursday afternoon. “Bridge inspectors have stated the bridge is safe up to five tons. However, they would like to possibly address some issues with three and possibly four beams.”

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Gibson said the three or four girders under the bridge, built in 1960, are showing signs of rust and pitting.

The state aid for roads and bridges have contracted with engineering firm Stantec Corp. of Baton Rouge to conduct the inspections.

“At no expense to the city, we would like to ask them to prepare a proposal for potentially repairing the bridge and a cost estimate for doing that,” Gibson said. “The office of state aid has said they will cover the cost of this analysis.”

“If any issues that are truly found that need to be addressed, hopefully we can get that done and by early spring remove the five ton limit on the bridge,” Gibson said.

“It’s good that all of our passenger cars and trucks under five tons can continue to use the bridge and, as you know, the bridge is also used by commercial buses for tours and for cruise boards, utilities, school buses, garbage trucks and such,” he said. “We have met already with the vast majority of those effected by this order just to make sure they will put alternative routes in place, people like Atmos, Entergy, AMR, Pafford, to include our own fire department.”