East Hardy Street project to pick back up next week

Work on East Hardy Street bridge expected to be full go next week
Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 12:00 AM CDT
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FORREST COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) – Concrete work on the East Hardy Street bridge is expected to resume next week.

Work had been halted the past few weeks as the project’s contractors and engineers sought to adjust both ends of the steel spanning the Leaf River.

“The bridge is not defective,” Forrest County Board of Supervisors David Hogan said Friday afternoon.

Petal Mayor Tony Ducker said he had been kept abreast of the progress on the $20-million-plus project, but hasn’t been fussing over the delay.

“It’s a construction project,” Ducker said. “(The delay) hasn’t caused a lot of heartburn on our side.

Hogan said an issue arose when the 300-foot steel spans were put atop pilings in the river.

“The ends, they ‘flexed’ a couple of inches,” Hogan said. “But I want to be sure everyone knows that all of (it) falls within the original tolerances.”

Hogan said the contractor was on-site Friday afternoon, prepping the spans so that concrete can be poured for the approaches at either end of the bridge.

“They’ll tighten all the bolts on the two sections of the span on either end,” Hogan said. “That will take most of the flex out of it.”

Hogan said the beam ends are between 2 inches and 3 inches.

Hogan said the concrete also would be poured thicker at both approaches from the roadway on the approaches to the bridge’s “deck” or roadway.

Another possible correction would include the addition of “haunches” located between the beams and the deck/roadway.

When completed, the cities of Hattiesburg and Petal will have a new bridge to replace the current 70-year-old span connecting the two.

The project, originally priced at $20 million and primarily funded by a Mississippi Department of Transportation grant, was started in June 2021.

Hogan said the project was still in good shape.

“Any impact on time or money will be very minimal,” Hogan said.

Hogan said the anticipation was to have the new bridge open for business by “the fall, or at east by the end of the year.’

Forrest County, Petal and Hattiesburg joined forces to create a “district,’ hoping to spark economic development interest on both sies of the river.

The old span is expected to be “repurposed” for use as a pedestrian bridge/event space, Hogan said.

Ducker said all concerned can start “dreaming a little bit about that area and what it might possibly look like in 10 years.”

“We think there’s going to be a lot of opportunity in that end of town.”

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