Park Service closes 8-mile segment of Natchez Trace - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Park Service closes 8-mile segment of Natchez Trace

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RIDGELAND, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The newest stretch of the Natchez Trace in the Jackson area has been closed down for repairs. Officials blame it on shifting Yazoo clay. The eight mile section runs from I-55 in Madison County, southwest to U.S. Highway 49 in Hinds County. 

Yazoo clay, 43 feet down, has shifted causing the slide of an embankment and a rough spot in the road way.  The spot is just east of where the Canadian National Railroad runs under the Trace near U.S. 49. It was opened to traffic in 2005 with much fanfare. 

Barry Boyd, Chief of Maintenance on the Trace, drove all the way down from Tupelo to talk with us about the problem.

When asked why the job was not done properly in the first place, Boyd replied, "Well I can't say it wasn't done properly. Things change, the embankment was stable when they built it. The natural ground that they built on was stable when they built it, to the best of my knowledge.  It's one of those things that as time goes on soils open up allowing moisture to get in, the embankment slides due to the sheer strength of it."

The total cost for the repair was estimated to be about $750,000.

Signs were put up in Madison County, closing the road and forcing drivers onto I-55 southbound.  You will quickly see an electric sign telling you to detour via I-220. The same thing happens on U.S. 49, the electric sign warning you to detour. Then the trace is blocked north of U.S. 49. 

Pam Alford of Brandon was not happy about the detour. She said, "this is the newest portion of the Trace.  People use this to go back and forth to work. I am sure those people will be frustrated."

The Natchez Trace is closed from I-55 TO U.S. Highway 49 and it could be closed for up to one year.

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