Popp’s Ferry bridge repairs to begin at midnight tonight

Representatives of Joe McGee Construction Co. are performing preliminary surveys and positioning equipment at the Popp’s Ferry bridge today, and will begin moving forward on repairs to the bridge tonight at the stroke of midnight, the minute the company’s notice to proceed begins.

“This is further indication of how important this bridge is to our day-to-day traffic, and we’re not losing a minute in getting it back in operation,” said Mayor A.J. Holloway, who originally contacted the Mississippi Department of Transportation about repairing and re-opening the bridge, which was struck by a barge March 20.

Added the mayor: “I fully expect that pile driving will begin well before daylight Saturday, and I apologize to residents in the area of this temporary inconvenience.”

MDOT only two days ago awarded a $2 million contract to Joe McGee Construction Co., a Lake, Miss., firm, to re-open the bridge to motorists on April 28. The contract, which followed an accelerated advertisement schedule, includes a $75,000-per-day bonus for early completion, or a $75,000-per-day penalty for every day after April 28 the bridge is not open to motorists. Pedestrians will not be able to use the bridge for several weeks, only after new railings are fabricated and installed.

Emergency funds from the Federal Highway Administration are being used to pay for the work.

The city also plans to add new striping on the northern section of the bridge while repair work is underway.

Meanwhile, city contractors are expected to complete the re-surfacing of Popp’s Ferry Road between the bridge and Pass Road well before the planned April 28 re-opening of the bridge.

“We had originally planned to do this work at night, but with the bridge closed, we’re able to do it during the day,” Holloway said. “Once our paving work on Popp’s Ferry Road is complete, the contractors will move to the west end of Pass Road, at DeBuys Road, and begin re-paving all of Pass Road to Keesler. That work will be done at night to minimize the impact on traffic.”

Photos: To see aerial photos from the day of the collision, click here. To see other photos from that day, click here.

News and notes

Good Friday: Non-emergency municipal offices are closed today in observance of Good Friday.

More traffic: To see Thursday’s Traffic Update, showing road improvement projects throughout the city, click here.

Weekend preview: This weekend, you’ll find Chicago performing at the Beau Rivage, Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band at the Hard Rock, and Ambrosia at the Isle. To see details on these performances and other entertaining events, click here.