Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge Construction On Schedule
Story and Photos by Keith Burton-GCN Filed 9/28/06
Contractors working on the new Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge are on schedule, according to officials with the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
The construction site for the $338 million bridge is a flurry of activity with cranes both pulling the old bridge apart and others pounding into the water new pylons for what will eventually become the new bridge. Barring weather and unexpected material delays, the bridge is scheduled to open with two lanes on November 13, 2007. The remainder of the bridge is supposed to open April 16, 2008.
The new bridge will be much higher than the former bridge. At 95 feet at its highest point, the bridge should accommodate most marine traffic. MDOT chose to require a bridge without a drawspan. The lack of a drawspan should keep traffic flowing smoothly.
The huge pile or orange dirt just north of the Isle of Capri Casino is not a permanent feature. Contractors are using the dirt to put weight on the soil beneath to force water from the soil to help provide a more stable foundation for the bridge abutment that will eventually be placed.
The new bridge will have six lanes of roadway with an additional four pulloff lanes, two on either side. The bridge will also have a bicycle lane.
The new bridge will also include replacing the current railroad bridge on the Ocean Springs side of the roadway. The new design also includes straightening the sharp curve that once scared drivers coming into Biloxi.
The new bridge will make the curve farther out over the water to reduce the radius.
MDOT awarded the contract to build the briedge to GC Constructors, a joint venture composed of the firms Massman Construction Company of Kansas City, MO, Kiewit Southern Company of Peachtree City, GA and Traylor Brothers, Inc. of Evansville, IN.