HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - MDOT crews have already set up the electronic signs and construction cones in anticipation of a major detour to divert traffic off Interstate 10. MDOT will close a section of I-10 in Harrison County as crews tear down the bridge on Old Highway 67 to make way for a new wider bridge.
The demolition of this bridge is expected to take 14 hours from 7 pm on Saturday to 9 am on Sunday. Officials said during that time officials several law enforcement agencies will work together in a large scale coordinated effort to keep drivers safe and on track.
Before a new bridge can be built the current bridge over the interstate must come down. At first MDOT consider using explosives for the job, but officials said that was too risky to nearby businesses so they decided on a different strategy.
Michael Harter - Project Engineer "We're going to swing the wrecking balls," said Michael Harter, Project Engineer. "We're going to crunch it up and we're going to let small pieces fall down to the Interstate. We're going to protect the Interstate with a foot of sand that way any pieces that fall will not damage the existing interstate. At that time we'll push the debris off to the side and we will haul it off at a later time."
During the demolition, drivers on I-10 will have to take a 19 mile detour.
"Starting at 7 pm on Saturday night I-10 westbound approaching the area will exit at exit 46 and go up Highway 67," Harter said. "The detour will take them to 605 where they will turn south and get back on I-10 at exit 38."
Eastbound drivers will take that same detour in reverse. State troopers will direct traffic, with help from MDOT officers, Harrison County sheriff's deputies. and police officers from Biloxi, Gulfport and D'Iberville.
"It's going to be a collaborative effort among all parties involved to get that blue light presence out there on the detour and to keep everybody safe," said Harter. "I just ask the traveling public to please be safe if you have to be on the roads, watch out for all of our workers. Please slow down."
Drivers who use Cedar Lake and Woolmarket roads to get on to I-10 will only be able to get on the highway going westbound during the demolition. MDOT said the demolition and construction is in anticipation that the business boom in D'Iberville will continue.
"There has been and there potentially will be a multitude of new businesses going up in the D'Iberville area," Harter said. "There's been an economic boom here, and we want to get these infrastructure improvements in place to accommodate all of that traffic before elements get in place instead of after."