JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - If you will be traveling to or through Jackson in the near future, then you may need to plan for extra time to get to your destination.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation has announced it will be closing Interstate 20 in Jackson for repairs.
It will require two separate 5-day closure periods due to demolition. The closures start Oct. 18, beginning at 7 p.m.
Mississippi Department of Transportation crews will close I-20 eastbound over Lynch Creek in Jackson to perform a bridge rehabilitation project.
The project calls for the partial removal and replacement of both the eastbound and westbound bridge decks. The second closure will take place on the westbound side of I-20 one week later, on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. Each closure will begin at 7 p.m. and end by 6 a.m. the following Thursday.
The project will have a major impact on traffic. During construction, freight traffic will be directed to I-220 to detour around the I-20 closures. Local traffic will be directed to Highway 80. During the I-20 westbound closure, the on-ramp to I-55 north from County Line Road will close as needed to help with traffic flow on I-55 northbound.
Work will consist of removing and replacing sections of both the eastbound and westbound bridge decks. Using high pressure water, crews will remove the existing bridge deck before placing the new deck and re-striping the travel lanes. Crews will also place rip rap along the creek bed to prevent erosion.
“This is a stretch of interstate that carries approximately 93,000 vehicles a day,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “Over time, the high volume of traffic has caused the bridge deck to deteriorate.”
Engineers recently found cracking and areas of exposed rebar in the bridge deck during routine inspections. While the bridge is currently structurally sound, engineers determined repairs to each of the 51-foot by 209-foot structures were necessary.
“We understand closing an interstate in the Jackson-metro area is going to be an inconvenience for the traveling public which is why motorists should begin planning their alternate routes now,” said Commissioner Dick Hall, chair, Mississippi Transportation Commission. “In the long run, the project will extend the service life of these bridges up to 50 years.”
Drivers are reminded to be on high alert for flagmen and roadside workers. Advance warning and detour signage will be in place for communication with the traveling public.
“Bridges are a vital component to the state’s infrastructure network and this project will enhance safety and connectivity along Mississippi’s highway system,” Commissioner Hall continued. “I’d call that a good investment.”
There will be flagmen and other MDOT officials on duty and detour signs will be in place to navigate people around the construction. Drivers should expect delays and plan extra time to get to their destinations.