Big Ridge Road Bridge demolition makes room for better overpass

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Department of Transportation crews are preparing for the next stage of construction after obliterating the old Big Ridge Road Bridge over Interstate 110 in D'Iberville on Saturday. That highway had to be shut down, but not for too long.

MDOT was able to finish the job early and get traffic flowing again. As WLOX News reports a bigger, better bridge is now in the works.

One big blast sent the aging Big Ridge Road Bridge in D'Iberville crumbling down. At least 400 pounds of explosives were used, and I-110 was temporarily closed for MDOT to destroy the overpass.

"There was a large, huge explosion and a giant cloud of dust. It was something to see," MDOT Project Engineer Michael Harter said.

MDOT crews said this demolition and cleanup didn't last as long they anticipated, so they were able to get traffic flowing on the interstate four hours ahead of schedule.

"It is a sight to see. It (the bridge) goes to the ground very quickly. Within a couple of seconds the bridge is on the ground," MDOT District Engineer Kelly Castleberry said.

There is still a lot of debris from the bridge at the demolition site. Castleberry said it will be hauled away starting Monday.

"Our crews will come back in, the contractor will, and they will begin removing the rest of the concrete that is along the side of road, loading up their trucks and hauling it away," Castleberry said.

The removal of the two lane overpass now paves the way for a newer, wider bridge and easy access to and from I-110.

"It is going to be five total lanes; four turning lanes with a turning lane in the middle. It is also going to be ramps from Big Ridge Road to and from I-110 to give people access where there was none before," Harter said.

Drivers can look for the new bridge to be up and open by fall of 2015. This is the second phase of the massive I-10/I-110 interchange project. Phase one began last year.

"It is important that we get this project done mainly due to economic growth that D'Iberville has experienced and will in the future. We know there are some new businesses coming in, and it is extremely important to get these infrastructure improvements in place," Harter said.

This phase of the interchange project will cost $11.4 million.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.