Bridge Project Stalled, But Set to Resume

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

People going to the MSU Riley Center Thursday night to see BB King perform will have to take a detour.

The 22nd Avenue bridge was closed near the end of June for a projected six months so that it could be renovated.

But there is concern that the six months could stretch into an even longer period of time, because work there stopped several weeks after it started and has not resumed.

Several downtown business owners say their businesses have been affected. They say have had to work overtime to get people through the door.

The one possibly most affected is The Gathering Place coffee shop and the attached Noah's Ark Day Care. The day care entrance has been completely blocked.

"They are trying to find us from the interstate and you have to give them directions here," said Terrence Roberts of The Gathering Place. "You have to go this way and that way..."

"There are so many one-way streets, a lot of people don't know how to get here so they just go to a fast food restaurant," said Diane Trammell of Jean's restaurant. "But thank goodness, they all don't. "

Traffic has dramatically dropped since work started on the 22nd Avenue bridge.

"I think it is going to be great when it's done," said Roberts. "I just wish they would hurry up and finish."

One downtown visitor has had out-of-town family lost while visiting.

Work was stalled when crews discovered drainage problems. Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry said work is expected to resume Monday. She said the project order had to be approved by council to include work on the drainage problems.

To pay for it, the mayor says the city has had to temporarily cut back on some of the decorative details.

Due to the added expense of fixing the drains, the bridge will not include four decorative pillars originally planned to stand at the north and south ends.

As for the inconvenience to downtown merchants and drivers, the mayor says she sympathizes and hopes to see work finish on schedule in December, if not earlier.

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  • by FP Location: Meridian on Sep 4, 2009 at 09:11 PM
    Told you the City would mess up this project. Current and past administrations can't even paint yellow and white lines, fix pot holes, or maintain traffic control devices. Public works is a joke as long as the city council is more interested threefoot, city hall, parking garages, and other useless projects.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 4, 2009 at 08:42 AM
    Thank God they aren't putting up the 4 art deco pillars at each end that John Robert so wanted.
  • by Whatever Location: Meridian on Sep 4, 2009 at 06:15 AM
    While I appreciate the effort to make the bridge both functional and attractive, I still cringe to think of people having to drive past the old, dilapidated, rotting Village Fair Mall and old Sears building to GET to our pretty downtown area. Does Paul Jr. have any plans in the works for these properties?
  • by MIKE Location: MERIDIAN on Sep 3, 2009 at 03:15 PM
    I think its ridiculous that this project seems to be dragging alone. The project shouldnt have been started if there werent sufficient funding. I have traveled in other cities and find crews working day and night. This bridge should be seen as a top priority. Its really embarrasing to have B.B. King and other visitors travel through backroads to get to the Riley Center
  • by Jean Location: Meridian on Sep 3, 2009 at 03:12 PM
    This project was very poorly timed. It's easy enough to reach downtown via E Street and the tunnel, but E Street is incredibly rough to travel, and full of potholes. The delay will probably also cause snafus as Christmas-shopping time nears.
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