Mississippi


Day 2 of the whirlwind trip took us around the Shreveport freeway system, northward along new Interstate 49 to Arkansas, around Texarkana on the new I-369 and AR 549 freeways, and northeast to a revisit of the Little Rock Interstates. Meandering southeastward, we crossed the doomed Clarendon Bridge over the White River toward U.S. 49 through Helena-West Helena into Mississippi. Zigzagging southward, we ended up in Vicksburg.

Interstate 220 provides a through route bypass of Shreveport, traveling 17.62 miles through northern reaches of the city. The freeway utilizes a long viaduct over Cross Lake, which was the last facet of roadway to open for the route. Construction on the span commenced in January 1984, and it was originally slated for completion in 1986. Delays pushed back the opening date until April 10, 1989.1

A 1987 Shreveport inset from a Gousha atlas shows the Cross Lake bridge for Interstate 220 still under construction.

Interstate 220 east over Cross Lake. The bridge features a unique drainage system, where water flows toward the center of the span. Collected water departs a central pipe system for a concrete holding pond at the north side of the lake. This drainage method protects Cross Lake from chemicals and other pollutants. Cross Lake is the source of Shreveport’s drinking water.1

The east end of Interstate 220 consists of a half-built directional cloverleaf interchange with six stubs left over from an unconstructed extension southeast through Barksdale Air Force Base.

Grading for a loop ramp from unconstructed I-220 west to I-20 west is evident. Our 2008 blog post on Interstate 49 in Louisiana referenced a possible extension of the I-220 freeway southeast to the planned corridor of Interstate 69.

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Took Interstate 10 westbound from Northwest Florida to Lake Charles, Louisiana, then U.S. 171 north to Shreveport. Redocumented all of I-10 west to Lafayette, all of I-12 west, Interstates 110 and 210. Took new coverage of I-10 west to Lake Charles and all of U.S. 171 north toward Shreveport as well as photographing the south ends of U.S. 165 and 171.

The first construction of note on the day is the building of a diamond interchange with the north end of the Baldwin Beach Express (County Road 83). Work is expected to run through October of this year.

The ramps are partially paved and a new overpass is in place for the extension of County Road 83. Additionally, two lanes of the future four-lane roadway are open with two-way traffic between the I-10 overpass and County Road 64 to the south. The four-lane corridor leading south beyond U.S. 90 is not yet open to traffic, but nearly ready with base pavement already complete.

The future westbound off-ramp to County Road 83 / Baldwin Beach Express south. The 2015 Rand McNally atlas shows this interchange as open with the exit number of 49.

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AARoads contributor Chris Kalina traveled through the Memphis area on Saturday March 8th and took a look at progress for construction of Interstate 269, the Memphis outer beltway. Work is underway along the entire corridor from Interstates 55 & 69 east to Tennessee 385 (Bill Morris Parkway) at Collierville.

Tennessee is scheduled to complete their portion of I-269 by 2015, with work continuing through northern Mississippi until 2018.1 A great overview of current construction and the planned alignment for the freeway is available at the DeSoto County, Mississippi GIS Viewer.

Bridge supports and decking takes shape at an future overpass for McIngvale Road above the eventual mainline of Interstates 22 & 269, east of Interstate 55.

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The third day of the southern trip from July, 2008. And the fourth, since a lot of the third day was unfortunately spent in boring parts of Tennessee.


Somewhere in all that kudzu, there is an old US-11 bridge.

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Second batch from July of 2008, featuring mainly US-82 and US-78 in Arkansas and Mississippi.


Along US-82 in southwest Arkansas is a wild animal farm. Here is a half-horse half-zebra creature.


Some of the last cutouts in Mississippi. There is a US-45 somewhere, too.


Extra tall sunset, somewhere approaching Tupelo on old US-78.

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Some notes and photos from a holiday drive northward from the Gulf Coast area to Iowa. Day 1 focused on the Interstate 55 corridor northward to Sikeston, Missouri. The day started out foggy, with lots of standing water from recent floodwaters over southern Mississippi. The the sun shined northward to Grenada, where murky skies set in and remained in place throughout the week

U.S. 84 shifted from its Main Street alignment through Collins onto a new four-lane bypass north of town. The old alignment was redesignated Mississippi 184. A new partial-cloverleaf interchange joins U.S. 49 with the relocated U.S. 84.

U.S. 49′s approach to Interstates 20 and 55 at Richland was upgraded to an expressway recently. The controlled-access route bypasses some of the businesses, now served by frontage roads, from the split with Old Highway 49 north to U.S. 49′s merge onto Interstate 20 west & 55 south.

Interstates 20 & 55 westbound near their split in south Jackson. Road work is underway presently to replace the westbound bridge over U.S. 51 / State Street.

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A recent visit to State Line, Mississippi revealed changes made by 2007 to U.S. 45, Mississippi 42, and Mississipi 57. This small town derives its name from its proximity to the Alabama state line on the Greene and Wayne County lines. Mississippi 42 enters State Line as a two lane road from Richton to the west; Mississippi 57 connects the community with Leakesville to the south; U.S. 45 joins the area with Waynesboro and Citronelle.

Construction starting around 2000 involved widening all remaining two-lane sections of U.S. 45 northward from the Alabama state line to Meridian. This work included an expressway bypass of Quitman and completes U.S. 45 as a four-lane route trough to the Tennessee state line.

Widening of U.S. 45 ties into another four-lane corridor underway along Mississippi 57 south to Leakesville and Mississipi 63 between Leakesville and Moss Point. This work is partially complete with a 12-mile stretch of new expressway grade road for Mississippi 57 from U.S. 45 south. A new alignment was built east of Main Street, extending the state route to a partial trumpet interchange with U.S. 45. Included in the work was the relocation of Mississippi 42 onto St. Peter Street and a new diamond interchange between the two highways.

Further south, all of Mississippi 63 was four-laned between an interchange with U.S. 98 and the city of Moss Point by 2000. Mississippi 63 remains a two-lane route between U.S. 98 northeast of Lucedale to its overlap with Mississippi 57 through Leakesville. This is changing now with the construction of a new four-lane highway from the current stub end with U.S. 98 to a widening of existing Mississippi 57 north of its split with Mississippi 63.

The final 25-mile stretch of new four-lane is presently under construction. Completion expected by fall 2011, the $42.1 million roadway includes substantial new alignments for Mississippi 63 and 57 and a diamond interchange where they come together southeast of Leakesville.

A look at changes made to the State Line area road network between 2000 and 2009. Note the relocation of Mississippi 42 from Kennedy Street onto St. Peter Street and the realignment of its intersection west from Alabama 56. Mississippi 57 north from a crossover south of St. Peter Street to the end with U.S. 45 exists as a limited access freeway with partial shoulders.

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Coming to fruition within the last few years are two new state highway alignments in Harrison County, Mississippi. The first is Mississippi 605, a highway designated along the previously unnumbered Lorraine and Cowan Roads between U.S. 90 and Interstate 10 and northward onto a new four-lane facility to Mississippi 67 at Traditions Parkway. Second is the new four-lane alignment of Mississippi 67, a 19-mile route with expresswaylike characteristics between U.S. 49 north of Saucier and the Interstate 10/110 interchange at D’Iberville. Relocated Mississippi 67 joins Mississippi 15 at a new trumpet interchange north of the Biloxi city limits with the two sharing pavement south to a joint end at Interstate 110. Mississippi 15 south of Interstate 10 is decommissioned, though most signs along the freeway still include the co-sign.

Mississippi 15 southbound at the new trumpet interchange with Mississippi 67.

Mississippi 67 was fully opened to traffic after a ribbon cutting ceremony on January 16, 2009. Work on the nine-miles leading northwest to U.S. 49 from Traditions Parkway opened to traffic by May 14, 2008. The final section entailed ten miles between Mississippi 605 and Mississippi 15 north of Woolmarket. The highway cost $72 million and took six years to complete.

Heading northbound at the off-ramp to Mississippi 605 south and Tradition Parkway north.

New Mississippi 605 opened on December 20, 2006 as an extension of Cowan-Lorraine Road 8.2 miles north to Mississippi 67 at the planned Traditions community. The new road cost $16 million and presently is mostly undeveloped.

One mile south of the interchange with Mississippi 67 on Mississippi 605 northbound.

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Speaking of carbon copying signs,¬†perhaps it is¬†about time that Interstate 10 guide signs in Mobile County, Alabama reflect Biloxi and/or New Orleans? Pascagoula made sense when Interstate 10 was originally built, because the freeway defaulted onto U.S. 90 at the state line for many years before Mississippi completed its portion. Nowadays, Pascagoula makes little sense, as Interstate 10 travels through Moss Point, Pascagoula’s neighbor to the north, and U.S. 90, the route that still travels to the coastal city, is not directly accessible from the freeway anymore. Yet all these years, little thought has been given into changing the control city to something else.

1974 Alabama official highway map.

Furthermore, Interstate 10 gains the control city of Mobile along eastbound from Gulfport and Biloxi through Moss Point. There’s no mention of Pascagoula outside of exit signs for Mississippi 613 and 63.

1971 Gousha Alabama/Georgia highway map.

The same can be said for Interstate 10′s control point from Slidell, Louisiana, which features the U.S. 90 city of Bay St. Louis. When Interstate 10 ended at Mississippi 607 (Exit 2) from Louisiana, it made sense to have Bay St. Louis, since MS 607 to U.S. 90 carried motorists directly into the Hancock County city. Nowadays Interstate 10 bypasses the community well to the north.

1971 Mississippi Gousha Mississippi highway map.

Throughout the years the same cities are carbon copied without any thought to updating the signs. However it is possible to change such designations. Texas officials altered signs in 2007 for U.S. 75 leading north from Dallas that replaced Sherman with McKinney…

This past weekend afforded me with the opportunity to check on the status of some upper Gulf Coast road projects related to the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. The August 29, 2005 landfall of the historic storm not only devastated the New Orleans and Mississippi coastal area homes and businesses, but also washed out several key stretches of highway infrastructure. Included in the storm’s fury was the destruction of the U.S. 90 spans over both Biloxi Bay at Ocean Springs and St. Louis Bay and the collapse of the Interstate 10 twin spans over Lake Pontchartrain. Now over two years removed, recovery efforts are well underway!

Beginning in the east, the U.S. 90 Ocean Springs Bridge is finally open to traffic after 18 months of work. Initially opened to traffic on November 1, 2007, the bridge presently carries two lanes of traffic on a span that eventually will accommodate six lanes and a pedestrian/bicycle path. The span travels much higher than the original four-lane crossing, thus negating the need for a draw-span. See MDOT’s BiloxiBayBridge page for more details on the construction, which is slated for completion on April 16, 2008, with a full bridge opening on March 28, 2008. Work began on June 16, 2006.

U.S. 90 first spans the CSX Railroad line over an arm of the Old Fort Bayou before ascending along the high-level Biloxi Bay Bridge. Features of the new span include a retro-style guard rail and light yellow paint motif.

Continuing west, the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina becomes increasingly evident as one leaves Biloxi and enters Gulfport, Long Beach, and Pass Christian. Presently crews are repaving the U.S. 90 roadway, which remains somewhat bumpy after the Hurricane.

Some new development has occurred on the stretch, but much of it remains abandoned or clear of any structures. One such structure that was replaced is the St. Louis Bay Bridge of U.S. 90. Crews opened half of the eventual four-lane bridge on May 17, 2007, linking the city of Bay St. Louis with Pass Christian. As of December 10, 2007, the span still carries two-lanes and a 12-foot pedestrian/bicycle path.

U.S. 90 westbound on the St. Louis Bay Bridge – December 10, 2007. Traffic shifted from the completed eastbound lanes onto the westbound lanes on November 26, 2007 so that contractors could finish the final elements of the bridge including lighting, signs, and railing.

Construction on the St. Louis Bay Bridge commenced on June 7, 2006, just three months after demolition began on the remnants of the original span. U.S. 90 originally traveled along a two four-lane draw bridge, but with an 85 foot clearance on the new span, motorists will not longer suffer delays from marine traffic below. The $266.8 million project is near completion.

U.S. 90 remains a somewhat lonely road from its partition with Mississippi 607 in western Hancock County. Continuing from there through the Pearlington area, a series of truss, lift, and pony truss bridges carry the two-lane highway through bayou country. Once U.S. 90 nears the Rigolets, a waterway that joins Lake Pontchartrain to the west with Lake Borgne to the east, another bridge project is well underway. Crossing the Rigolets is the narrow two-lane Fort Pike Bridge, a truss with a swing span first opened to traffic in 1930.

The stretch of U.S. 90 suffered damaged due to Katrina’s storm surge, however the bridge suffered limited damage structurally (but major damage to its electrical system). LADOTD’s replacement project of the aging span was already underway when Hurricane Katrina made landfall. However contractors working on the span were pulled away from the project for emergency repairs to the Interstate 10 bridges over Escambia Bay after Hurricane Ivan.

Looking east at the original Fort Pike Bridge and its future replacement at the Rigolets in eastern Orleans Parish.

A three-year construction project is underway to build a 5,500-long span with a 70 foot clearance. No longer will motorists experience anxiety when crossing the waterway on 10 feet lanes as the new bridge will carry two 12 foot lanes with 12 foot shoulders. Work began on the $50.6-million project November 2004 with an expected completion by June 2008.

Another of the three crossings between Orleans and St. Tammany Parish is that of the twin bridges of Interstate 10 over Lake Pontchartrain. These, like those of Interstate 10′s crossing of Escambia Bay in Florida, suffered the same fate of the U.S. 90 bridges in Mississippi with storm surges higher than the bridge itself toppling the concrete decks into the lake waters below. For a short time period, there was no Interstate 10 crossing between New Orleans and Slidell, with the narrow U.S. 11 bridge carrying the entire load. However an interim solution arose that salvaged submerged bridge deck components in conjunction with temporary metal-deck trusses.

Currently Interstate 10 traffic still utilizes a combination of the original bridges and those temporary metal trusses, similar to what travelers endured for several years at Pensacola. Construction is well underway however on the eventual replacement of the original four lane crossing with a much higher set of three lane bridges along the eastbound side. Costing $800-million, the twin-span replacement project will result in bridges ranging between 15 and 28 feet higher than the original bridges. Opening of the future westbound bridge is expected by late 2009. That span will carry four lanes of travel as crews work on the two-year completion of the new eastbound bridge.

Spanning Interstate 10 along U.S. 11 at Irish Bayou. Work on the Interstate 10 replacement spans is still in the early stages.

Four overall lanes of traffic are still accommodated along the 1965-built bridges. When the westbound bridge opens in 2009, demolition will begin on the original spans.


In related news, crews put the finishing touches on the new westbound bridge carrying Interstate 10 across Escambia Bay this week (December 12, 2007). Work was planned for completion by Christmas, but now cross country travelers and commuters alike will reap the benefits of the three-year $245-million construction job done in the wake of Hurricane Ivan. The new spans travel 25 feet higher than original shoulder less two-lane bridges. Drivers may now safely span Escambia Bay along three overall lanes per direction that includes shoulders on both the inside and outside lanes.

A look at the Escambia Bay Bridge project just four days prior to the opening of the new westbound bridge. Portions of the original bridge are being used to create an artificial reef in the offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

As it stands now, the bridge carries six overall lanes across the bay. Eastbound traffic reduces to two lanes once reaching land in Santa Rosa County. The third westbound lane becomes exit-only for the U.S. 90 (Exit 17) folded-diamond interchange. It is expected that Interstate 10 will be widened to six-lanes overall between Exit 17 and Exit 13 (Florida 291 / Davis Highway) in the near future.

Sources:

Reconstruction Of The Bay St. Louis Bridge - MDOT

Top Louisiana Construction Projects (2005),McGraw-Hill Construction.

“Gov reopens I-10 bridge.” Pensacola News Journal, December 12, 2007.

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