Little Tallahatchie River bridges’ work impedes Union Co. traffic

May 23rd, 2016     General News

New Albany, Mississippi– Work on two of the bridges that cross the Little Tallahatchie River in Union County continues to impede motor vehicle traffic.

We’ve found no one thus far who can tell us exactly how many bridges cross the Little Tallahatchie as it twists and meanders its way in a roughly southwesterly direction across Union County.

The Tallahatchie bridge project causing the most interruption of traffic is that on Interstate 22 where it crosses the river, then Carter Avenue and Central Avenue. A Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) contractor is working to replace part of the concrete bridge deck on the parallel bridges.

MDOT personnel told that damage to the bridge deck was found when the two bridges and the intersection were  redesigned and partially rebuilt in 2012-2013. Repairs were done on the damage found in 2012-2013, but those repairs have proven insufficient. Thus, more extensive work is now being done including removing a substantial amount of old concrete, installing new rebar and pouring a good deal of new concrete.

While this work is done, I-22 traffic in both directions will be reduced to one lane each. This reduction in roadway capacity is expected to continue through the summer months. According to MDOT the project “is anticipated to be complete in early fall 2016.”

The westbound access ramp from Carter Avenue to the interstate is closed, but, says MDOT, “is expected to reopen to traffic in July.” The highway department also says, “There will be occasional detours on Carter and Central Avenues.” Such detours have existed some of the time during the last several days.

A temporary bridge is being dismantled at the Martintown Road bridge site

A temporary work bridge is being dismantled at the Martintown Road bridge site

Detours also continue while the new bridge across the Little Tallahatchie on Martintown Road is being built. With mostly favorable weather in recent days, that new bridge building work appears to be moving forward pretty steadily. Installation of new re-enforcement steel and other work that must be done before the new bridge deck can be built is nearing completion. Work using the temporary bridge immediately downstream from the new bridge is finished, and that temporary bridge is being dismantled.

The Martintown Road bridge is expected to be complete and open to traffic in August.

As to the number of bridges across the Little Tallahatchie in Union County — that may be a hard fact to determine. In some instances box culverts carry traffic across the various branches of the Tallahatchie, which brings the question: is a box culvert a bridge?

No one knows for sure the exact length of the Little Tallahatchie in Union County. In fact estimates by “experts” of its total length in Mississippi vary from 230 miles to 300 miles. The stream is officially the Little Tallahatchie until it is joined by the Coldwater River a few miles south of Marks in Quitman County. From there, it is simply the Tallahatchie River until it merges with the Yalabusha River to create the Yazoo River.

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