Officials express concerns about progress of Hwy 589 constructio - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

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Officials express concerns about progress of Hwy 589 construction

Hwy 589 construction/Photo credit: WDAM Hwy 589 construction/Photo credit: WDAM
MDOT sent a press release Thursday regarding the construction./Photo credit: WDAM MDOT sent a press release Thursday regarding the construction./Photo credit: WDAM

It has been over three months since flooding washed away portions of Mississippi Highway 589 in Lamar County.

During a board of supervisors meeting Thursday morning, Lamar County officials expressed concerns about the progress of the construction project.

“The bid had been awarded to Tanner Construction out of Laurel, and whenever I called to get that update they were telling me they anticipated having the road open and passable by the end of December,” Lamar County Road Manager Tommy Jones said. 

On March 11, more than 12 inches of rain fell in portions of the Pine Belt, washing away more than 1,500 feet of roadway along MS 589.

In May, a $976,417 bid was awarded to Tanner Construction.

“As far as we know, I’ve not seen any activity but any day, they could come and get started,” Jones said. 

On Thursday, WDAM 7 News made calls to the Mississippi Department of Transportation Spokesman Michael Flood.

“I have been in communication with the construction project manager every day, I have called them every single morning,” Flood said. “At this time we do not have a start date, I know last week they were talking about starting this week but it hasn’t happened.”

At 4:01 p.m., a press release was sent out from MDOT stating that construction on the 589 project has started.

“This section of roadway was damaged during heavy rainfall earlier this year, forcing the highway to be closed,” according to Transportation Commissioner Tom King. “Construction of a bridge as part of repair work is expected to alleviate future flood concerns for this portion of Highway 589.”

Because the repairs are taking so long, over use on the detour roads could end up costing the county, according to Jones.

“The situation with all this added traffic what I’m beginning to see is a lot of base failures within these roads. It’s simply because you’ve got added traffic, you’ve got bigger trucks, you’ve got heavier trucks, stuff that’s not normally on those roads is now beginning to take a toll on those roads,” Jones said. “This is something that we will have to assess when the construction is finished on 589 and see the shape of detour roads.”

By 5 p.m. Thursday, heavy equipment was moving dirt along the northern section of the washout along 589.

The work is scheduled for completion by November 2016, according to the release from MDOT.

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