It won’t be long now*

August 30th, 2015     General News

For more than two months, getting to and from Baptist Memorial Hospital has been inconvenient for many motorists. The most direct route to the hospital from downtown New Albany has been closed due to the replacement of an old bridge.

Sources at New Albany city hall now say they expect the work to be complete and the street re-opened to traffic by mid September. It won’t be long now.

Engineering Solutions of Pontotoc, consulting engineers for the City of New Albany, said a small bridge that carried Oxford Road over a large ditch next to Fairfield Drive was no longer safe and that a new bridge was needed.

That segment of Oxford Road is about a half mile long. It runs from its intersection with Highway 30 at the west side of the hospital, down the back side of the hospital campus and connects with Bankhead Street near downtown New Albany.

Paul Smithey Construction Company of Tupelo had the contract to demolish and remove the old bridge. The Smithey crew started work Monday morning, June 22, and was through demolishing the unsafe bridge and carrying off its components by the end of the day Wednesday, June 24th.

Demolition of the old bridge and clean-up of debris was completed in 3 days

Demolition of the old bridge and clean-up of debris was completed in 3 days

The contract to build the new bridge had been awarded to Steel-Con, a New Albany company, which had bid $169,939 for the job. The next lowest bid was by Ausbern Construction Company of Okolona. Ausbern bid $242,590 for building the new bridge to specifications issued by Engineering Solutions. The Ausbern bid was 43 percent higher that Steel-Con’s.

Heavy rains including flooding during July were blamed for the delays in finishing the new bridge. At one point Steel-Con had several pumps at work trying to clear water from the work site.Bridge 2

Now the main span of the bridge, a steel re-enforced concrete slab approximately 26 feet wide and 42 feet long, appears to be finished. Upright stanchions for guard rails are installed. Shallow ramps at both ends of the bridge, each with about a six inch rise in a 25-30 foot length, need to be finished.

If the new bridge is opened by September 15, that will be 86 days from start to finish.

Is that long? We reckon it depends how many times you’ve had to take the long way around to get to the hospital or Baptist’s Healthplex facility.


*NOTE:  Baby boys born to observant Jewish parents undergo a surgical ritual, called the bris milah, on the eighth day of their lives. The rabbi who performs the bris milah procedure, during the incantation of ancient prayers, is called the mohel. Hence the old Jewish one-liner:

Bris Milah, Venice, about 1780

Bris Milah, Venice, about 1780


“The mohel said, ‘It won’t be long now.'”

If this tired old joke offends you, we are sorry, but hope it broadens your sense of humor. It is merely’s attempt to inject a little amusement into an otherwise boring story.

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