'Gap' on Hardy Street bridge may be there longer than expected

'Gap' on Hardy Street bridge may be there longer than expected
A photo shared on social media is causing quite the stir over road conditions in the Pine Belt./Photo credit: Viewer submitted

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi Department of Transportation said a district-wide repair project, which included replacing a sealant in a gap on the Hardy Street overpass, may take longer than originally expected.

A photo shared on social media of the three inch gap on the bridge over I-59 sparked many concerns by drivers in February.  Seven On Your Side went to MDOT after the photo was shared with WDAM 7 News on social media for an explanation.

MDOT said the gap is part of a construction joint, and it is not a structural problem. The gaps can range from half an inch to four inches, depending on the bridge.

MDOT said the gap is not a safety issue for driver. It is part of engineering of bridges and overtime, and the sealant fell out of the joint.

On March 2, MDOT said the Hardy Street bridge was added to a district-wide joint repair project, which was slated to start in May.

On Wednesday, MDOT said the district-wide project is set to begin at the end of May 2017, but work will probably not begin until the first of July due to bonding requirements. MDOT said the repair project is not just for the expansion joint material that has fallen out.

MDOT District Engineer Kelly Castleberry said there is no set date as to when crews will get to this bridge, as there are many other in need of work in the contract.

The district-wide project covers seven counties: Clarke, Jasper, Jones, Forrest, Greene, Perry and Lamar. Right now, there are 23 bridges proposed for joint work.

WDAM 7 News will let you know when that work does start. MDOT expects to have to close the bridge for repairs.

To report any road conditions or hazards in your area, you can visit GoMDOT.com.  You can also call the District 6 MDOT Headquarters at (601) 544-6511.