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I-22 work will close access ramp for two months

Many have asked the whys and wherefores about the electronic sign at Carter Avenue and I-22 (U.S. 78), placed there two days ago by MDOT.

The sign tells motorists: “U.S. 78 W RAMP CLOSURE STARTING MAY 12TH.”

Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) Engineer Mark Holly told us that the westbound access ramp to I-22 will be closed for about two months so that work can be done to repair the deck of the bridge that crosses the Little Tallahatchie River. The work is necessary because the concrete of the bridge deck is deteriorating, and MDOT wants to fix the problem before the situation becomes dangerous.

Closure-1-edThe contractor, Century Construction, is required to complete enough of its work so that the westbound access ramp can be open again by July 14, 2016. Century will be subject to financial penalties if the work needed to re-open the ramp is not finished by July 14.

Many will recall that this interchange was re-designed and work on it began in March, 2012, to bring it up to standards required to upgrade Highway 78 to Interstate 22. MDOT referred to the new design as a “split diamond interchange,” and work continued for more than a year.

The deterioration in the bridge deck was discovered when that interchange work was done, starting four years ago, but MDOT engineers believed that repairs done then would cure the problem. However, the concrete has continued to degrade and more extensive work must now be performed.

Closure-2-edMDOT’s Mark Holly says the failing concrete will be removed by a process known as “hydroblasting.” That process will also expose any steel re-enforcement components that have rusted and may need to be replaced. Concrete and steel will be replaced as necessary to effect a permanent repair to the bridge deck.

Although the westbound access ramp is expected to be re-opened by mid-July, work to resurface that section of roadway is not expected to be complete until September.

A press release from MDOT today to says, in part:

Construction crews will be alternately closing the eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 22 (Highway 78) at the Little Tallahatchie River and at Carter and Central Avenues in Union County for a bridge deck repair project. Additionally, the Carter and Central Avenue entrance ramp on I-22 (Highway 78) westbound will be closed. Crews will begin the repairs on Thursday, May 12, 2016, and the project is expected to be complete in the fall. The contractor that was selected for the project is Century Construction.

There will be occasional closures and detours on Carter and Central Avenues, Highway 78 over the Little Tallahatchie River and over Carter and Central Avenues in New Albany, Union County.  The alternating closures will begin on Thursday, May 12, 2016, and last through the duration of the project. The ramp closure will also begin on May 12 and will last until July.


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