D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Department of Transportation described the massive undertaking it took to knock down the 400 foot long old Highway 67 overpass in D'Iberville as a success. MDOT shut down a portion of Interstate 10 from Saturday night to Sunday morning to get the job done.
In 14 hours, a small army of construction crews and a chorus of heavy machinery tore down the old Highway 67 Bridge piece-by-piece in D'Iberville.
"Track-hoes, wrecking balls, taking everything down and cleaning everything up," MDOT Project Engineer Michael Harter said.
While crews raced against the clock to remove the tons of concrete and steel off the road, an eight mile stretch of Interstate 10 looked like a ghost town.
"It's kind of like a concert, you have to get everything working together for it to succeed," District Engineer Kelly Castleberry said.
A little before 9 a.m. Sunday, hundreds of drivers were back on the roads. Castleberry was relieved the team met the deadline.
"Our goal was to take down the bridge safely and so far we have done that."
The demolished Highway 67 Bridge was built in the 1970s and stood for more than 40 years. Now it is out with the old and in with the new.
"Will probably going to go ahead and start building the new bridge almost immediately. It will take about 12 to 15 months to build," Harter said.
For the first time in Mississippi, a diverging diamond interchange will be going up here.
"It will almost be like a five lane bridge. It will have a crossing pattern. It will be a nice structure, much larger than the one we took down. What it does is it allows left turn movement free access to the road, so there are no stop conditions, and traffic flows a lot faster and a lot more efficient," Castleberry said.
Missouri opened the first DDI in the country in 2009, and now there at least 30 in the U.S. MDOT officials believe it will also be a perfect fit in D'Iberville due to commercial growth and congestion.
"Roughly 40,000 to 60,000 vehicles on this interstate every day depending on the season, so the amount of traffic dictates what structures are built," Castleberry said.
This project will cost around $30 million. This is just phase one of interchange project. Phase two will begin next month with improvements to Big Ridge Road in the city.