Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge On Schedule - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge On Schedule

A big part of the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge project is "out with the old."  Heavy equipment demolishes the bridge remnants Katrina left behind.

Resident engineer Kelly Castleberry gave WLOX News a close up view of the work site. Along with the demo work, a nearby dredging operation is part of the project.

"Right now the dredging operation is underway to get our work barges in place. The sound is only two to three feet deep in this location, so they're going to dredge the material out so they can move and go inside where the bridge has to go," Castleberry explained.

Newly driven pilings are already in place and easily seen from both shores. But not everything new you see will be part of the finished project. The big hill of red dirt on the Biloxi side for instance, is only temporary.

"That's a soil surcharge. And what that's doing is compressing the soil at the abuttments. It's taking the water out of the soil. You'll have wick drains installed. The water will get pushed out and consolidate the soil at those abuttments for a more stable foundation," said Castleberry.

Even though the storm ravaged structure is being demolished, the old Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge will remain a permanent part of the coast. That's because debris from the span is being used to build a new reef, just south of Deer Island.

Since the new span alignment will be slightly south of the old bridge, demoltion can be going on at the same time as construction. Good news for drivers who use it, the bridge work is on schedule.

"Right now the project is on schedule. The timetable for the first milestone, which is to have two lanes of traffic across it, will be November the 13th of 2007. And then the second milestone, to have the bridge completely finished will be April the 16th of 2008," said Castleberry.

The new Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge will be 95 feet over the water at its highest point. It will carry six lanes of traffic, with full shoulders on both sides.

By Steve Phillips

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