While the Mississippi Department of Transportation gets some much-needed repairs done to an Interstate-20 bridge in Jackson almost 100,000 motorists will be directed towards Highway 80 and other back roads.
12 News Alex Love spoke to MDOT and drivers on how this project will impact them and joins us live off I-20 with what you need to know.
The Ellis Ave. exit is where drivers heading east on I-20 will have to get off on starting this Friday at 7:00 P.M. and continue down Highway 80 towards I-55 while the Lynch Creek bridge gets renovated.
Running the entire length of Mississippi, interstate 20 is for many the quickest and easiest route getting pass the Jackson Metro.
“It basically gets us where we need to go faster than taking us down alternate routes through these neighborhoods,” Alabama trucker Johnnie Jones said. “And it’s a whole lot easier.”
But after cracks and exposed rebar were found during the lynch creek bridge’s last inspection mdot says they had to take action.
“Although the bridge is constructionally safe right now,” Michael Flood of MDOT explained. “With that amount of vehicles that travel it every day, 93,000, the purpose of this work is to completely hydro blast out the existing bridge deck and place new concrete on top of it. It will extend the life of the bridge another 40-50 years.”
But drivers and locals are warned this pushes all those interstate travelers to Highway 80 between Ellis Ave. and Gallatin St. exits.
“That’s going to be kind of tough,” Jackson commuter Stan Kincaid said. “It’s going to be putting heavy traffic and I think that’s probably going to give you more opportunities to have an accident. It’s going to be too congested.”
After the eastbound side of the bridge is repaired and opens back up Oct. 24th MDOT will then turn to the westbound lanes, pushing all traffic up I-55 north until Halloween. Forcing truckers to travel all the way around to I-220.
“The traffic is going to be kind of rough and drop us behind on doing what we have to do,” Jones stated. “Shutting down part of it for a couple of days is going to put a lot of drivers in bad timing and make your freight late.”
MDOT will also be closing down the Countyline Rd. exit that connects to I-55 north while I-20 westbound is closed to avoid more traffic backing up. In all this bridge repair will cost over $2 million.
MDOT also wants to stress to drivers when approaching these alternate routes you will come across road workers. So please slow down to avoid any tragedies or accidents.