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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