Important Information from MDOT Regarding Fort Bayou Bridge Closure
Fort Bayou drawbridge closure EXTENDED in Jackson County
HATTIESBURG, MISS. – The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently closed the Fort Bayou drawbridge in Ocean Springs for a bridge repair. The closure was originally expected to last 45 days; however, the damage is more severe than crews anticipated. The bridge is now expected to reopen in late May.
“The damage was much worse than we had anticipated. We could not determine the extent until we actually removed the parts and could inspect it firsthand,” said Project Engineer Jason Winders. “Unfortunately, damage to the trunnion, which is essentially the bridge’s axle, is much more severe than we hoped it would be. Additional machining of the trunnion is required to increase the life cycle of the bridge which in turn requires new bearing assemblies to be fabricated. This new fabrication and installation is not expected to be completed until May 21, 2021.”
Crews are working to get it completed ahead of hurricane season, which officially begins June 1, 2021.
“We appreciate the patience of the public as we work to preserve this critical drawbridge in Ocean Springs,” said Winders.
Despite the unforeseen issues, crews are continuing to make headway on other work items, such as the repainting of the bridge and the complete renovation of the bridge’s control house.
Other issues motorists have encountered are traffic buildups in the area, including Highway 51 and Interstate 10. MDOT signal crews out of Hattiesburg are monitoring signals and traffic flow daily to make the necessary adjustments to alleviate traffic buildup.
“We do understand this is an extra load on the detour traffic,” said Winders. “We’re working as hard and as fast as we can to get the bridge back open as quickly as possible.”
Drivers are advised to avoid the area and follow detour signs in place for the remainder of the closure. Once the closure is over, traffic will remain in a two-lane configuration for additional work on the drawbridge.
This project was awarded to C.E.C., Inc., of Lafayette, Louisiana, and the entire project is expected to be completed late 2021.
Stay updated with live travel information at MDOTtraffic.com or download the MDOT Traffic mobile app.