JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Department of Transportation will not repair the Red Creek Bridge on Hwy. 57. Instead, MDOT is expediting plans to replace the bridge with a concrete structure.
The contract for construction of the new bridge will be let for bids in a special project letting on December 19.
Plans for a new bridge were already in the works before the September 19 accident. That's when a track hoe being hauled south on Hwy. 57 slammed into the bridge. The collision knocked the track hoe off its trailer, causing all kinds of damage; snapping steel beams and puncturing holes in the bridge deck.
MDOT engineers inspected the damage and determined it would cost about half a million dollars to repair. Even that would take six or seven months. And once repaired, only local, non-commercial traffic would be allowed to use it.
"The best use of taxpayer dollars is to put all efforts toward expediting the construction of a replacement bridge," said Transportation Commissioner Tom King. "By doing this, MDOT is able to get a contract in place and start construction on a new bridge as soon as the permitting process is complete."
MDOT officials said the bridge plans are already complete, right of way is acquired and permits are expected to be in place within days.
The new bridge will be concrete and accessible to all forms of traffic.
"Repairing this bridge would entail much more than simply patching the damaged areas," King said. "Mississippi's economy relies on structurally sufficient state-owned bridges. In the long run, replacing this truss bridge with a new concrete bridge will greatly benefit the taxpayers of Mississippi."
Until the new bridge is open, MDOT says the official detour route, especially for commercial traffic, is State Route 26, to State Route 63 to I-10