The contract covers debris cleanup in George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Stone counties after Hurricane Zeta wreaked havoc throughout the area in October 2020.
“Hurricane Zeta left a path of destruction throughout south Mississippi, and although it takes time to clean up the damage left behind, MDOT has been working diligently to get the proper funding needed to start cleaning up affected areas as soon as possible,” said Commissioner Tom King, Southern Transportation District.
Although Hurricane Zeta hit the coast in late October, a federal disaster declaration that included provisions for public assistance was not signed until January 2021. This declaration ensures the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be reimbursed for the cost of the storm cleanup. Once the declaration was signed, MDOT was able to put the debris removal project out for bid and the contract was awarded shortly after, a process that usually takes a couple of months.
Strong winds, heavy rainfall and high storm surge caused damage to sections of sidewalk, traffic signals and cameras and roadway signs, including a large sign on Interstate 10. MDOT crews took precautions before Zeta hit by removing signal controllers in low lying areas, high mast lights and removing drawbridge arms to prepare the bridges for shutdown, which prevented the hurricane from causing more extensive damage.
Work is expected to be completed in April. Drivers are advised to be on high alert for roadside workers.