Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge Making Progress

"A lot of hard work going into the bridge," said Kelly Castleberry, as he looked toward the massive construction project.

He's the engineer in charge of overseeing all that work. Castleberry feels good about meeting the November 13th deadline but makes no promises beyond that.

"We are on schedule. We never say we're ahead of schedule, but we are on schedule," he said.

Transportation commissioner Wayne Brown is pleased with the progress.

As for that November 13th deadline, he told WLOX News: "We anticipate it will open earlier."

"We've got a few more spans of beam placement, roughly two and a half spans. That's for the westbound bridge, to have that bridge completely beamed out. We're also pouring deck on that bridge, along with railing as well," said Castleberry.

"There's some marine movement in the background for getting ready to pour the columns and caps. And, of course, further out on the span you'll see the deck placement going on. You have concrete trucks. A lot of concrete gets delivered to the site for building this bridge."

While the contractor will receive a five million dollar bonus for meeting that November 13th deadline, there is no extra incentive for finishing the job any earlier. However, there is a penalty if the deadline isn't met: $ 100,000 a day for each day past the 13th.

The new span will be taller, wider and safer than the old Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge.

"Some of the techniques have improved. Materials have improved a lot. How far we can pour concrete has changed a good bit, as far as the span lengths. A lot of material advances in bridge building," said the engineer.

Bridge construction workers are doing their part to finish the job on time. They're on the job six days a week.

"People need to get back and forth, and we need to get these communities back together again," said Castleberry.

The number of employees on the bridge project is at a peak right now. There are 450 people involved with the work. That includes everyone from laborers to engineers.