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MDOT Crews Patching Rough Stretches of U.S. 90
by Keith Burton - GCN   8/22/07

Coast motorists that frequently travel U.S. 90 will be pleased to see that the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is patching some of the rough stretches of the busy beach highway.

MDOT work crews will be seen up and down the highway with asphalt paving equipment going over the areas of the Katrina-damaged road that are falling apart since emergency repairs were made after the hurricane. Southern District Highway Commissioner Wayne Brown says the patch work is temporary to keep the road usable until all of the road is repaired.

MDOT has let contracts for the road and others will be decided in September to repair the road from the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge to the bridge at Henderson Point in west Harrison county. That project, Brown says, should begin within a couple of weeks starting first in Biloxi. The restoration project costs some $43.9 million and is being paid for by federal relief funds.

Brown says that the work on the road will take nearly two years and with most of the work underway after the new Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge opens in April 2008. He says there will be numerous traffic delays and residents and visitors will need to be patient.

"A lot of people have asked why we are making the repairs after the bridge reopens," Brown told GCN. "This is a very complex process. First, we needed to wait until after the hurricane debris was removed. Then we had to draw up the designs and survey what needed to be done. And third, we had to get federal approval of the plans we submitted. All of this takes time," Brown told GCN.

The hurricane washed out numerous sections of the roadbed, which were repaired in a temporary form just to get the road usable. Brown says that contractors will be making more permanent repairs, replacing curbs and fixing drains that were damaged. Brown said he anticipates that contractors will be asking for additional change orders as they discover problems and water lines that don't appear on existing plans.

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